Can you date someone if you have nothing in common?
It’s a question I’ve probably touched on in the past, but it’s been coming to mind recently. The short answer, as is often the case with so many dating questions, is “maybe”. Sure, you can date someone if you have “nothing in common”, but it really all depends on what you mean by having something in common. The fact that you’re alive means that you have something in common with billions of people right now, who are also are alive. If you’re reading this right now, you have something in common with something like 70%-80% of the world, who is literate. Having something in common is relative, you know? What people usually mean though is having specific common ground with a person.
Which is why I say maybe. I think that there are some things that, if you don’t have in common, you probably won’t be a good fit to date, and others that really don’t matter. What those things are, are things that you, as an individual place value on having in common. Let’s take your humble advice writer, Demetrius, for example. None of the people I’ve dated in the last, let’s say 10 years or so, have shared my interest in comic books. Maybe some have, but none to the same extent as I have. I’ve met plenty of people who are up for going to see the latest Marvel movie, but it’s rare that I meet someone who is as fascinated with the innovative visual storytelling of artists like Frank Quietly. Still though, I’ve never once felt like I couldn’t date these people because they weren’t singularly obsessed with studying comics. The reason why is because, although I love comics, having that in common with a potential partner is not something I particularly value. The things that I need to have in common with a partner are things like empathy and compassion, not necessarily a shared love of pop culture. Look, I’m the sort of guy whose interests range from modern dating, the physics behind woodpecker skulls, fantasy football, the joys of modding games like Skyrim for infinite replayability, and the history of New York City. The things I value in a partner have nothing to do with those interests because sharing things like loving comics is cool and all, but I’d much rather date a woman who understands why I value family and friends.
So when someone asks whether or not they can date someone if they have nothing in common, I’ll always ask what they mean when they say “nothing in common”:
- Do you mean that you don’t share the same hobbies?
- Do you mean that you don’t share the same education level?
- Do you mean that you aren’t on the same career path?
- Do you mean that you’re not at the same point in life?
What matters to you in dating, is what matters to you, no matter how deep or superficial. What commonalities I value, shouldn’t determine whether or not you should date someone. The value you place on common interests is purely subjective, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less important. If any of the things I listed above are important to have in common with someone you’re dating, you probably wont be a good fit to date someone who doesn’t share those values. Personally, I’m most concerned with what point someone is in at their life, more than anything else on that list. I couldn’t date someone who doesn’t have that in common with me, but maybe you could. And there is nothing wrong with either of our valuations.
If tabletop gaming is something you’ve built your social life around, dating someone who doesn’t share that interest, or isn’t willing to learn about that interest, is going to be tough. If your identity is tied directly to your religion, dating someone who doesn’t have that in common with you will be difficult. If being heavily involved in Ivy League social circles is your thing, maybe you’ll value a common education path. What you value in yourself and in others is part of who you are. Each of us has SOMETHING that, if we don’t share with our partners, we probably aren’t a good fit. Whatever that is for you, big or small, superficial or not, it’s neither for me to judge, nor tell you whether or not it’s important to have in common.
How many interests you have in common doesn’t matter, what matters most is what you do have in common, and the worth you place on those common values.
Good Luck Out There.