The wisdom of the ages offers two seemingly contradictory principles of romantic attraction: “like is attracted to like,” and “opposites attract.” Carl Jung (the founder of type theory) was convinced that opposites attract and even fascinate each other. Jung called his mysterious conception of the opposite the “shadow.” One’s shadow is that which one has not developed, expressed, or lived out in oneself. Our psychological opposite represents the rejected, abandoned, or unlived half of ourselves. In Jung’s view, we are not so much seeking similarity in our mates as complementarity — the completion of ourselves by our opposite.
Psychologist David Keirsey, who has studied personality and temperament for decades, provides the following empirical observations, which indicate that opposites often do attract with one common exception–perception–in which it seems we more often prefer likeness:
- By far the most frequent mating appears to be between eagle-eyed hippies (Travelers, Humanitarians, Politicians, and Engineers) and eagle-eyed tyrants (Bosses, Enforcers, Guardians, and Philanthropists). This is not surprising since these two opposite temperaments account for about 75 percent of the population.
- Bleeding-hearted psychics (Muses, Prophets, Romantics, and Poets) and pointy-headed psychics (Directors, Revolutionaries, Innovators, and Professors) attract each other most frequently if given the chance to meet.
- There is a remarkably high frequency of second marriages between bleeding-hearted psychics and pointy-headed psychics following a failed marriage with one of the eagle-eyed temperaments.
See Keirsey, David, Please Understand Me II, Prometheus Nemesis Book Company.
Use the pairings table below to quickly find your shadow and your type opposite but with the same perception preference. Test the “shadow” theory, by typing the people to whom you have been most attracted.
Our personality quiz and educational materials are based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and the research of Isabel Myers (creator of the Myers-Briggs), David Keirsey, and Paul and Barbara Tieger, and others.
Disclaimer: 2bme has no affiliation with the Myers & Briggs Foundation or its affiliate, Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., and we do not administer the MBTI® instrument or the Myers-Briggs® assessment.