How to Know if You’re Compatible With Someone (According to Experts)

It’s natural to wonder how compatible you are with someone before getting too emotionally invested. After all, if you and your partner aren’t on the same page, it’s going to be tough to make things work in the long run.

So even if you think you’ve found “the one,” it’s important to take a step back and assess whether or not you’re truly suitable for each other.

But how can you tell? According to relationship experts, here are ways to know if you’re compatible with someone.

Marelys Padilla, LCSW, PMH-C

Marelys Padilla

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Reflecting on our level of compatibility with someone can be an important and useful task.

Remaining curious about our internal experience as we navigate intimate relationships can help us become intentional about our social connections, learn our own boundaries, and make decisions about to who we dedicate our time to.

Human beings thrive when we have access to positive relational connections in our lives. In fact, our brains are wired for connection, so it’s fair to dedicate some time to consider which relationships you’re finding most fulfilling and which are not quite serving you.

After you leave a social interaction, take a moment to notice how you are feeling

The first step in the process of determining our level of compatibility with someone entails a bit of reflection.

After you leave a social interaction, take a moment to notice how you are feeling. Notice any emotions that come up for you and try your best not to judge or rationalize them.

Scan your body and notice any physical sensations you may be feeling

Next, scan your body and notice any physical sensations you may be feeling. Try not to rush this process and instead remain open and curious about your emotional and physiological responses.

Here you are gathering important information about your experience of compatibility in that relationship.

Compatibility will leave you feeling seen, heard, and cared for.

Feeling safe to be yourself, noticing space to share your world, and feeling connected with the person who you are engaging with are excellent signs of compatibility.

When we are compatible with someone, we enjoy their company and look forward to opportunities to share time together.

If you leave a social interaction feeling drained, shamed, misunderstood, judged, or dismissed, it may be a sign of poor compatibility.

Take inventory of the quality of reciprocity in your relationship

Also, take inventory of the quality of reciprocity in your relationship since this can be a good gauge of compatibility. We thrive in relationships that foster a feeling of mutual support.

A relationship with healthy reciprocity will have a good capacity for each individual to share their unique experiences, both allowing space for the other.

Reciprocity fosters a wonderful environment where differences can exist without judgment or turmoil. If the relationship is feeling one-sided or like you are carrying the load, it could be an excellent sign of trouble with compatibility.

Even when there is a high compatibility in a relationship, there can still be adversity or stress, which impacts the social connection. Contrary to popular belief, you can be compatible with someone and still experience conflict in your relationship.

Related: How Often Do Couples Argue or Fight in a Healthy Relationship 

You can repair the ruptures with your friend or significant other

Ruptures in relationships happen and are normal. After all, engaging with others is always a dance between two individuals, each with a complete set of personality traits, experiences, and histories that make them unique.

A great sign of compatibility is when you can repair these ruptures with your friend or significant other.

Repairs can be hard because it takes vulnerability, but if you can connect and offer each other safety to explore what went wrong, then you can both decide on a path forward in a way that honors each of your needs, ultimately strengthening your relationship.

Related: How to Be Vulnerable in a Relationship

If there is an inability or an unwillingness to listen to one another with open hearts, then the repair cannot be completely achieved.

Remember that we can only engage our relational brain when we are not actively in the midst of a stress response (fight, flight, or freeze), so it’s best to attempt engaging in these conversations when both parties are feeling safe and regulated emotionally.

I want to highlight that it is not uncommon to worry about the health of our relationships with others.

Maybe you are endeavoring in a new connection and want to decide if this person is compatible with you, or you may be experiencing trouble in a well-established relationship that would be difficult to disconnect from if you found that you are incompatible.

Neuroscience has proven that human beings experience literal pain in the face of rejection, so the stakes are higher than we think.

For a deeper understanding of your specific concerns around relationships, individual therapy can be a wonderful resource to help you explore and understand these further.

Many people who choose to connect to their inner workings via therapy can find healing and newfound clarity.

Please know that you are worthy of connection and safety in relationships! The rest is part of the unfolding we engage in as we learn about ourselves and grow.

Dr. Ketan Parmar

Ketan Parmar

Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots

Pay attention to small details that may seem insignificant at first

When we first meet someone, it’s easy to get caught up in the initial excitement and romance of it all. As a result, we might overlook some important details about that person that will determine whether or not the relationship is sustainable over time. 

However, getting to know someone takes time — and it’s important to pay attention to small details that may seem insignificant at first but can have a major impact on your ability to see things through with this person long-term. 

That being said, you need to be aware of red flags when getting to know someone new because nobody wants a failed relationship or even an awkward ending. 

As a friend once said, “The worst thing you can do is fall in love with someone so fast that when they disappear from your life, you fall into depression.”

Set some ground rules

When you first start dating, it’s important to set some boundaries right away — not just for yourself but for your partner, too. 

First and foremost, you need to decide how you’ll communicate with each other. 

  • Will you only talk during certain times of the day? 
  • Will you only text?
  • Will you also be open to talking on the phone? 

Next, you should decide when and where you’ll meet up. While some people like to meet as soon as possible, others prefer to wait a couple of weeks to give the relationship a chance to progress naturally. 

You should also decide how often you want to see each other. While this will depend on the length of your relationship and your respective schedules, you should at least try to avoid seeing each other too often, as it’s easy to fall into a pattern where you’re spending too much time together.

Be wary of excessive texting

While texting can be an excellent way to get to know someone and build a relationship, it can also cause a lot of drama if you don’t use it appropriately. 

If you’re communicating primarily through text messages, you may want to ask yourself why you’re doing so. After all, it’s easy to overestimate the effectiveness of text messages, especially when you’re trying to build a relationship with someone who lives far away. 

While texting may seem like a good idea, you should resist the urge to do it too often or for too long. It may seem obvious, but you don’t want to be the person who texts your date every second of every day. 

You also don’t want to spend hours texting someone you barely know — especially if you’re spending more time texting than actually getting to know each other in real life.

Check-in on your gut instinct

While getting to know someone, pay attention to your gut instinct. Your gut instinct is your intuition — it’s that creepy feeling that you have when something just doesn’t seem right. Your gut instinct is there to protect you. 

Related: Instinct vs Intuition. What Is the Difference?

It’s a primal feeling that tells you when something doesn’t feel right. It’s your body’s natural way of letting you know that something just isn’t going the way it should be. 

One way to tell if your gut instinct is trying to tell you something is to pay attention to how you feel around this person. 

Are you nervous? Stressed? Anxious? If so, there may be a reason why. 

You can also pay attention to how you feel when you’re not around this person. Do you feel calmer when they’re not around? If not, it’s possible that your gut instinct is telling you that something is off.

Look at how they treat others

You can learn a lot about someone by the way they treat others — and the sooner you find out if your new friend is a jerk, the better. 

You may want to pay attention to the way they act towards you and your friends, but you should also pay attention to the way they act towards strangers. If they’re rude to the waiter, they’re probably rude to everybody. 

It’s also worth paying attention to how they interact with the people in their life — if they’re constantly blaming other people for their problems, they’re probably not somebody you want to be around. 

Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Blames You for Everything

If you’re noticing red flags in your romantic interest’s behavior and they’re not budging, don’t be afraid to call them out. You don’t want to go overboard, but you should let them know that their attitude is not acceptable.

Evaluate the quality of the relationship

When you’ve been seeing someone for a while, it’s a good idea to evaluate the quality of your relationship. 

There are a few things you can do to determine whether or not you’re in a healthy relationship:

  1. You should evaluate how you feel about this person. Do you feel happy and comfortable when you’re with them? Or do you feel stressed out and anxious?
  2. You should consider the effort each of you is putting into the relationship. Do both of you place a high value on your relationship? Or are you in a one-sided relationship where one person is putting in all the effort?
  3. You should consider your future together. Do you see a future with this person? Or are you more focused on what you need to do to make the relationship work? 

The more you can answer yes to these questions, the healthier your relationship is — and the higher chance you have of making it last long-term.

Summing up

When you first start dating, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to pay attention to important details about that person that will determine whether or not the relationship is sustainable over time. 

That being said, you need to be aware of red flags when getting to know someone new — because nobody wants a failed relationship or even an awkward ending. 

Rachel Davidson, MA, LPC-A

Rachel Davidson

Therapist, Malaty Therapy

You share some of our most highly regarded values

You can take a million compatibility quizzes online, read your horoscope, or have your fortune told. However, there are several more straightforward ways to determine whether you’re compatible with another person.

Much of compatibility is wrapped up in personal values. It’s not necessary to have all of your interests in common with a partner. You can be compatible with someone who loves soccer, even if you hate sports.

While having interests in common can be a great thing in a relationship, values go much deeper than just common interests and activities. Values encompass some of the ideals and standards we hold most important to us.

Related: What Are Core Values and How Do They Control My Life?

While our partner does not need to value the exact same things and in the same order to ensure compatibility, it is vital that they share some of our most highly regarded values.

For example, if you are someone who values stability, in terms of dating someone who you can depend on to show up when you need them and who is responsible with money, you will not find yourself to be compatible with someone who values risk-taking and spontaneity more highly than they value stability.

When dating this person, you may feel uneasy or anxious because their values are not a match for your own. This being said, if your partner values spontaneity but also values stability and is able to meet your needs for stability while also being true to their value system, you could be compatible.

Both partners are willing and able to make compromises

Compatibility also requires that both partners are willing and able to make compromises in order to allow their partner to live in accordance with their values.

You may be a student while your partner is in the workforce. You value continuing education, and your partner makes time for you to go to school and study even though they do not value education to the same degree.

It’s ok if your values are not an exact match. What matters is that your partner recognizes what is important to you and makes an effort to make sure you are able to live in accordance with that.

Making compromises can be really helpful in a relationship, but it is also important that we do not compromise so much that we lose sight of what we care about.

You can’t force compatibility, but you can be aware of what your partner cares about and make decisions about whether those are things you can provide or if they conflict with your value system.

Kristin Davin, Psy.D

Kristin Davin

Psychologist, Choosing Therapy

Everything seems to align

There are several signs that indicate you are compatible with someone in a relationship. And if you have ever been in an incompatible relationship, when you find a better fit, everything seems to align. Relationships shouldn’t feel like work and drudgery.

There is general ease to the relationship

Things just work. Yes, issues come up, but by and large, you can talk about them in healthy ways, resolve them, and move on. You communicate in calm ways and can manage your own feelings.

In many of these situations, each individual has done a lot of their own work. There is harmony in the relationship.

You practice healthy boundaries

From spending time apart to time together. Boundaries are respected and are formed in personal and professional relationships (including time on social media) and with family and friends.

You like one another

You are friends and are respectful towards one another. This isn’t a hard thing to do.

Related: How Do You Know If You Like Someone Romantically

It’s easy to make plans

With one another, friends, and/or family. It’s easy to blend both families. You want to bring them with you when you do things.

You share similar lifestyles, core values, and shared beliefs about behaviors and beliefs.

You have similar goals, and there’s a feeling of reliance on one another for each person to achieve their goals. You take pride in having goals together and supporting one another with individual goals.

You want to continue to create experiences together and have fun planning things out.

You may want to do different things at times, but you are both open to doing what the other person wants to do and vice versa. There is the goal of compromising, and it doesn’t feel difficult to do that.

John F. Tholen, PhD

John F. Tholen

Cognitive Psychologist | Author, “Focused Positivity: The Path to Success and Peace of Mind

You complement each other’s needs or preferences

Before attempting a relationship, we can never be certain that we would be in a compatible relationship partner with someone. There are several steps, however, that we can take to improve our chances:

The first step is to identify potential partners we find sexually and socially attractive.

The second step is to eliminate any who displays either:

  • Less respect for our wishes and feelings than for someone else’s other than their own.
  • Unwillingness to communicate their honest feelings and wishes through responsible self-assertion—without aggression, threat, or insult.
  • Intolerance of our innocent idiosyncrasies, normal human faults and weaknesses, and sincerely regretted mistakes.
  • Unwillingness to respect our personal boundaries (e.g., space, business, relationships, responsibilities, etc.).
  • Unwillingness to negotiate in good faith to find compromises to resolve the conflicts that invariably arise between partners.
  • Unwillingness to prioritize the interests of the relationship—the “team of two”—over their own personal interests.
  • Unwillingness to pursue—or support our pursuit of—a wellness lifestyle dedicated to thriving with respect to physical health, emotional health, intellectual mental well-being, social support network, spiritual philosophical balance (a sense of purpose and meaning), occupational and financial security, and creativity and self-expression.

The third step is to eliminate any potential partners who display a conflicting attitude about one or more subjects that are of great importance to us (e.g., having children, religion, politics, entertainment, etc.).

The fourth step is to eliminate any potential partners who are unable or unwilling to complement our needs or preferences with respect to:

  • Socializing with others
  • Giving or receiving affection
  • Being in—or giving up—control

Once these four steps have been taken, one way to determine if we are truly compatible with someone is through trial and error—attempting a relationship and seeing how it works out.

Britt Frank, MSW, LSCSW, SEP

Britt Frank

Licensed Psychotherapist, The Science of Stuck | Author, “The Science of Stuck

Ask about sleep hygiene preferences

Sleep hygiene preferences are one of the most overlooked yet important questions to ask early in a relationship.

If you are someone who needs eight hours of silence in a pitch-black room with absolutely no distractions, but your partner’s sleep habits include thrashing, snoring, coming to bed at odd hours, etc., then the likelihood of incompatibility is incredibly high.

Figure out your communication preferences

If you are a person who prefers to be in contact via text, dm, and FaceTime all day with your partner, it is unlikely that you’ll find compatibility with someone who goes heads down for a 12-hour work day and wants to come home and watch television to decompress.

Figuring out your communication preferences on the front end (frequency of contact, method of contact, etc.) will help you avoid many relational hot zones.

Related: How Often Should You Talk When You First Start Dating

You have the same sexual preferences

Is sex a requirement for a healthy relationship? Absolutely not. Is sexual compatibility a requirement for a healthy relationship? Yes.

If you are someone who is happy to go without sex for months, but you have a partner who desires sexual intimacy, the relationship is heading for a big crash.

Assess your hygiene compatibility

This one isn’t popular to talk about, but it’s an essential part of assessing compatibility.

If you are someone who showers twice a day, keeps your home minimalist and clean enough to eat off the floor, and couldn’t imagine leaving dirty dishes in the sink, it is important not to try to pair yourself with someone who eats Doritos in bed and puts dirty shoes up on the furniture.

While everyone is entitled to their approach to life, if you want to set up a relationship for success, hygiene compatibility is something to consider.

Katina Tarver, MA

Katina Tarver

Life and Relationship Coach, ThePleasantRelationship

You love each other’s personalities

You love each other’s personalities, and it is an excellent green flag for compatibility.

Besides, if there is anything wrong and you have a problem, you both sit and discuss the loophole. Of course, you don’t hope for them to change, but if they are willing to, you help them in the process.

You experience freedom

When you are compatible, you can show your true selves. You don’t hide from them and be the way you are. There are no pretentious acts, and there is no tinge of judgment.

Since you both like each other the way you are, there is complete acceptance and no farce in the relationship.

Your conflicts are always resolved

Couples fight, which is typical, but some partners do not wish to find a way out. However, when you are compatible, there is always conflict resolution.

It doesn’t matter how small or big the fight is; in the end, both parties find a solution to their problems.

You always prioritize each other

Call it a healthy relationship or diehard romantic, but when you are compatible with your partner, they are your priority. You support each other in tough times. No matter what happens, you always spare time for each other.

You care about each other’s likes and dislikes. But, most importantly, your relationship is filled with contentment and satisfaction.

You both own each other’s mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable and might lead to severe complications in a relationship. However, owning your mistake is something very few people can undertake.

But you tend to own up to your mistakes when you are a compatible couple. Nor do you indulge in a blame game or act defensively, thus safeguarding the sanity of a relationship.

Rori Sassoon

Rori Sassoon

Relationship Expert | Co-Founder, Platinum Poire | Author, “The Art of the Date (The Platinum Poire Trilogy)

Your focus, values, and ideals land in the same area

Compatibility is not just checking all the boxes. Compatibility combines inherent chemistry with an alignment in values. You don’t have to share everything in common, but your focus, value, and ideals land in the same area.

Related: 28 Signs of Good Chemistry Between a Man and a Woman

Compatibility and life experience also go hand in hand. Any overlapping shared life experiences will enhance the relationship, bringing you even closer together.

Your friends and family approve of your partner, making it that much easier to assimilate your lives together. You won’t even have to ask if you’re compatible with your significant other — you’ll just know.

Opposites may attract, but your values need to be unified.

Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

While you don’t have to be 100% compatible with leading a life together, there are sure signs that your relationship will last.

You genuinely enjoy their company

If you can’t go for a walk together, have a quiet dinner together, or have a meaningful conversation together, it might not be the right match.

You fight instead of suppressing your emotions

Holding back feelings of resentment will only lead to irritation later in the relationship, or worse, during an argument.

You both find a middle ground

You don’t fret every time you have a difference of opinion. Instead, you resolve disagreements with your partner to get an unmistakable indication of your compatibility.

You do not make each other change

If you’re constantly looking for ways to change your partner, you’re not in love with them. You’re merely in love with just a variant of them that you want them to be.

You never know what will happen; however, you can anticipate the best and work with what you have.

Congratulations if you notice these early signs in your relationship. You’re with someone with whom you’re extremely compatible.

Tiffany Homan

Tiffany Homan

Relationship Expert, Texas Divorce Laws

You share secrets with each other

Sharing secrets, whether they are humiliating tales or private information about your life, can reveal how compatible you and your partner truly are.

Although being honest is crucial in a relationship, showing your partner that you actually want to share secrets demonstrates your commitment to the relationship.

You two genuinely love being around each other

Relationships don’t necessarily involve romantic dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. Instead, you’ll spend a lot of your alone time cleaning, going food shopping, and binge-watching Netflix.

If you’re fortunate, you’ll get to spend a lot of time with your significant other. However, that depends on your ability to handle sharing both the special and ordinary moments together.

No matter what you’re doing, if you and your partner are a highly compatible fit, you’ll actually enjoy each other’s company.

You feel free to be who you are

Compatibility gives partners the ability to be who they are. It is enough reason to be yourself and not pretend to be someone you are not if your partner accepts you for who you are and does not pressure you to change who you are because you have that freedom in your relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my compatibility with my partner?

Improving compatibility with your partner involves open communication, understanding, and a willingness to grow together.

Start by discussing your values, goals, and any areas you feel challenged in your relationship. Be open to understanding and accepting your partner’s perspective and seek solutions together. Engage in activities and experiences that strengthen your bond.

Remember that building compatibility is an ongoing process that requires patience and commitment from both partners.

Can people with different personalities be compatible?

Yes, people with different personalities can be compatible in a relationship. The differences can even complement each other and create a balanced partnership.

The key is for both partners to understand and appreciate each other’s unique characteristics, communicate effectively, and share common values and goals. Compatibility is ultimately about finding harmony and satisfaction in a relationship, regardless of personal differences.

Can compatibility in a relationship change over time?

Yes, compatibility can change as people grow and develop individually and as a couple. Life experiences, personal growth, and changes in circumstances can affect compatibility.

It’s essential to maintain open communication, understand each other’s evolving needs, and be willing to adapt and grow together to ensure long-term compatibility and satisfaction in the relationship.

Is it possible to be compatible with more than one person?

It’s definitely possible to be compatible with more than one person because compatibility is based on several factors, including shared values, emotional connections, and communication styles.

While you can be compatible with different people, the depth and nature of that compatibility may vary. It’s important to remember that compatibility isn’t just about finding the perfect match but also about fostering a healthy and fulfilling relationship through mutual understanding and effort.

Can couples from different cultural backgrounds be compatible?

Yes, couples from different cultural backgrounds can certainly be compatible. While cultural differences can be particularly challenging, embracing and respecting these differences can enrich the relationship and create a strong bond.

Open communication, understanding, and a willingness to learn more about each other’s cultures are critical to compatibility in such relationships.

How can I recognize red flags indicating a lack of compatibility?

Some red flags that may indicate a lack of compatibility are constant miscommunication, conflicting values, and goals, lack of emotional connection, and an inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way.

If you find that you’re constantly struggling to connect with your partner, feel misunderstood, or experience conflict on a regular basis, it’s important to have an open conversation about your concerns and assess whether the relationship is right for the two of you.

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