How to Find a Romantic Partner

They say that like attracts like ... and that opposites attract. But like what? And opposite whats? Knowing how your brain works gives you the insight you need to find a compatible partner of the appropriate gender(s).

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #369

They say that new technology is driven by love. And by "love," I of course mean physical love. You know, friends with benefits type love. Only the "friend" is the internet. Indeed, one of the biggest impediments to productivity is the easy availability of all that love online. People who work from home barely have enough time left over to work.

What little free time there is, people spend searching the internet for romantic love. People are searching for mail-order brides, online dating, and other romantic solutions. Everyone wants to know what will work in terms of how to get a girlfriend or boyfriend. We all want to find our very own shmoopie of the appropriate gender. Well it turns out that biological anthropologist Helen Fisher worked with chemistry.com to do honkin' big analyses of online dating profile text: who writes to whom, who responds, and who turns out to be compatible. Her book Why Him? Why Her?  is a great guide to making your search for a soulmate much more efficient.

Instead of basing her research on psychological models, Prof. Fisher looked at the four major neurotransmitter systems that affect the brain. She figured those would play out in different dynamics when people use online dating sites. Different systems are stronger in each of us. She's given each of them names that can serve as memory hooks.Our Brains Drive Compatibility

Explorers are high in dopamine. Explorers ... explore. They seek novelty. They're spontaneous and go after what's new. They're creative, optimistic, enthusiastic, and mentally flexible.

Builders are the high-serotonin bunch. Builders like facts and rules. They are dependable, orderly, and calm. In short, they're the people who keep everything running.

Directors are high-testosterone. They are analytical, logical, and direct. They make decisions and are good at strategic thinking. When it comes to emotions, sure, they have them, if they slow down long enough to notice.

Negotiators use an estrogen-driven brain to see big-picture. They connect facts across contexts and think holistically. They have great verbal skills and are experts at reading others' non-verbal communication. They tend to be agreeable, altruistic, and expressive. Fisher calls their thinking style, "web thinking," because they connect ideas in ways that none of the other types do.

Profiles Reflect the Biology

Each type of person emphasizes their associated qualities in their online profiles and conversation. An explorer will want to go adventuring. A builder will want someone to settle down with. Directors are go-getters who might talk about goals and achievement. Negotiators will be creative, nurturing ideas people. In her work with online dating at Chemistry.com, Fisher found that there were significant differences in how each profile related to the others.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.