Are Dating Apps Aligned to Personality Type a Good Thing?

This month a free dating app was launched that matches people based on their Myers-Briggs personality type. On the surface, this might seem like a good thing – but is it?

Apparently, the new app, called So Syncd, pairs you with your most compatible personality types, as defined by the Myers-Briggs system, one of several ‘tests’ that assign people with various characteristics based on their responses to – in this case – an online survey. Once upon a time, only licensed psychologists could administer the MBTI, but nowadays anyone can get their four letters in a few short minutes.

NowI’ve long been a fan of the MBTI, but even I take it with a pinch of salt. And do I want my dating choices determined by so-called best matches? Umm, no.

And here’s why: every single time I got the MBTI involved in my own self-match-making, it flunked.

So what if a potential mate is a compatible letter combo? The chances are they can also be a complete moron who doesn’t tick a single other box. These are the things that really matter, like their educational achievements, background and SES, their core values, age or political leanings.

And then there’s the completely rogue aspect of physical attraction and the secret pheromones that we exude. Those are the two most important factors for long-term success in my humble opinion. You can align on the education, age and values options, but still not find your potential mate remotely attractive or bonk-worthy.

There are benefits to aligning MBTI types though

So, I’m not completely canning this dating app concept, just cautioning you not to get your hopes too elevated at the prospect of deciding you really want to match with your twin. Euw, no thank you – but jokes aside, sometimes we are more compatible with personality types who share a lot of common ground.

MBTI

Take the basic tendencies towards introversion or extroversion. As defined by the MBTI, introverted types are energised by alone-time and drained by people-time, whereas it’s the other way round for extroverted types. Of course, we’re all unique individuals but personally, acknowledging my basic introverted nature has deeply resonated. It was initially liberating and extremely satisfying to finally realise that I didn’t need to be ashamed for NOT being an extrovert. (Actually, I’m what’s known as a gregarious introvert!)

Authors and speakers like Susan Cain, author of Quiet Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Introverts, and Brene Brown have helped people all across the world to realise that it’s more than okay to be an introvert; in fact, we help the world go round, and we accomplish so much without beating our chests and banging our own drum. Introverts have marked and common traits, as do extroverts, keeping in mind of course that many of us are somewhere on this spectrum between the two.

Despite this, introverts the world over have flocked by buy Susan Cain’s book and watch the TED talks, read the many blogs on the subjects and yes, like me, even secretly relish all the memes flooding cyberspace!

introverts

It’s freeing and somehow comforting in a truly mammalian way to find your tribe and feel as if you fit in. For some of us, finding the MBTI and the ‘introverts’ movement has been both life-saving and an intellectual curiosity. But does it help when dating?

Jessica Alderson says, “dating is energy-draining for anyone, but even more so for us introverts…the thought of making small talk with a stranger …makes me want to crawl under my duvet.”

To help similar introverted types, Jessica and her sister set up syncd, which they claim is the first dating app and website that matches complementary Myers-Briggs types. “It’s also great for busy extroverts who have little time for dating,” she writes. (And let’s keep in mind that opposites also attract – sometimes a great relationship grows in the differences between extroverts and introverts.)

The So Syncd concept relies on the inherent matches in the MBTI system – that as an INFJ for instance, I am likely to be drawn to similar types like INFPs or ENFJs for example.

Jessica acknowledges though that personality isn’t everything – there are multiple factors that affect who we date and mate, or who we strive to meet at the very least.

But there’s no denying the vital role and generally great feeling when people just ‘get’ each other. Sadly, in my experience that doesn’t necessarily mean they are relationship material. It might mean that the date roars along with all the right signs, and then the next day you find yourself ghosted for no known reason! It happens – all the time. So, a reminder not to invest too much in the idea of ‘type’ compatibility.

Jessica also raises the importance of self-awareness (knowing your type and reading up on it can be fun and enlightening!) I guarantee some ‘aha’ moments, and if you’re anything like me when I discovered the wealth of content written about my type (INFJ), I spent many happy hours reading up on myself! Though I write that with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek, Jessica points out that self-awareness helps you to become the best version of yourself.

Hence on this app, much like OK Cupid – which began as a personality-type based concept – you’ll start with 40 questions to answer over 5 to 10 minutes. If you know your MBTI, you can skip this part and head to the action.

And on the topic of the MBTI, Jessica celebrates its power as a tool to help us understand our weaknesses, strengths, blind spots, how we act when we’re stressed and what we have in common with others. May moons ago in pre-internet days, my corporate workplace paid a hefty sum for all staff to be analysed for their Myers-Briggs type, and then workshop our commonalities and our differences! This can help you understand other people better too, especially your colleagues or family members.

Jessica also says that you’re more likely to meet similar people on her app, who are looking for a meaningful connection. Too early to tell, I’d say, but it’s a nice idea, especially if we can do away with superficial swiping based on looks alone.

Other benefits she cites for her new app is the ability to build resilience through understanding that different people find different traits attractive (ie, not to take rejections personally); and the ability to skip the small talk. On this point, they have available summaries of each type and suggestions for the ideal date. Hmm, intriguing.

The cynic in me says that, if the vibes aren’t right, I won’t want to dissect our MBTI crossovers and harmonies no matter how aligned our test results say we are!

One of the appealing aspects of this new personality-type based dating app idea is that you can let the system do the hard work for you. If you want to choose your ‘ideal type’ yourself that’s open to you, but you cal also click ‘choose for me’ to let the algorithms loose. “Either way, you get a compatibility percentage for each person, can search for people in any location and see who has liked you, or you can get a list of suggested matches,” Jessica explains.

If you’re intrigued by this concept and keen to give it a go, you might want to read up a little beforehand on your love language or check out their Facebook page.

Love to know your thoughts on this new development in the comments!

Interview with Year of Sluttery

A reader pointed me in the direction of Scarlett from Year of Sluttery as a fun, well-written blog so I immediately read pretty much every post in a blog binge! I was so impressed, not just by the similarities in our stories, adventures and attitudes, but also by just how darn adorable she is in her prose. She’s clever, creative and sassy, and therefore I liked her instantly. Find out more about Scarlett and her blog (“50 Flirty Fun: Dating and Life”) blog below…

Scarlett Jones

You’re new-ish to blogging – what made you start?

I’ve always thought I would like it but had started a couple and gotten one or two posts before dropping them. There are several reasons I’ve kept up with this blog. I wanted to think through what I was doing as a newly single older woman and writing is how I do that. I am having so much fun writing it!

Do you have writing or blogging goals?

I want to try to publish it as a book and I can even see the movie in my mind!

How does the blog intersect with the rest of your life? How do you balance the separate ‘identities’ of you as an older woman dating (on a quest), you in your working life, and you as a writer?

I completely separate the working life and dating because I fear getting fired honestly. The blog is very open about sex so it’s a worry for me. I keep writing but I fear getting found out. My writer side pushes me to have more adventures. This is usually a good thing. I have however learned to listen to the side of me that keeps me safe after I scared myself a little bit the first month. I still do things that many women would not do, as in having men over to my place after a date or two.

How important is writing for you at this stage of your life, and for what reasons?

Writing is my joy, something I look forward to and miss if I can’t get to it every day almost. I started writing for the blog, to have an audience, but am finding I can write for myself now. I’m actually considering pulling the blog and writing for a book now. I have so many people following me who know me (or who know the DJ) that I find myself not writing some things I want to for fear of his friends reading it. I will be writing for the rest of my life, would like for it to be daily.

I find your blog a charming mix of clever and funny, with a bold and brave ‘voice’. It makes for a unique writing/blogging ‘voice’ – how did you arrive at this? Did it take effort to find, or was it natural?

If you met me in person you’d hear this in my voice. I tell the stories on the blog the way I talk. I write as if I’m talking to a dear friend who isn’t judging me but is rather cheering me on, “living vicariously through me” as several close friends have told me, and who want to know the stories, because some don’t.

What are your impressions of dating now, as opposed to the last time you were single? Do you want to give us a potted history of how you came to be single again?

Oh this question makes me laugh. The funny thing is I’ve never dated. I got married at age 19 to Hillbilly Man, former captain of the football team who had graduated three years before me and was still driving around our small town looking for dates after his factory job. Like Plato’s cave I thought that little town was the world because I’d never been anywhere and thought, “Well someone wants me” and got married.

After 28 years of marriage I got the courage to leave, and it was courage, and met Hoppy Sporty Sport who was my first date after leaving Hillbilly Man. I stayed with Hoppy for six years and left when he “forgot to propose” after several discussions on getting married. I have no dating past. It’s all been this year.

So, the word cougar – love or loathe? Why?

Hmmm…. no one has called me this to my face. I date as many men in their 50s as I do in their 30s. I have no problem with the term and would consider it a compliment. It’s been fun being with younger men. It’s been a huge ego boost for one. I’ve had three children and am not a gym rat but I’ve had no complaints. In fact I’ve had many returners and I know men bullshit us but there’s no need to. I’m going to sleep with them because it’s fun. I will keep doing it if it’s fun for me so there’s no reason to try and trick me. I’m there. I like sex. The connotation of a cougar to me is someone who enjoys sex with younger men, which I do, but I also like sex with men my age.

Do you have an age preference in your current quest, or another quality that defines the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote from you to pursue someone?

My quest at this point is not for a monogamous relationship. It’s to meet as many people as possible and see what I want.

What are some turn on vs turn off qualities in the men you’ve met so far?

I except respect, humor, and intelligence. I have to be attracted to them also. That’s been interesting to meet someone and think they are so ‘hot’ online but not in real life and then the opposite also. I’d like to try and figure out what it is that makes the man attractive to me.

A complete turn-off to me is them telling me what to do, even sexually. The Cranky Narcissist was gone after he told me to clean my bathtub (I swear it wasn’t bad.) Baby Ginger messaged he’d like to “choke my pretty mouth” with his dick and he was done. Zen Man told me to suck his dick and I don’t want to see him again. There’s a rebel in me that does not want to do what I’m told. I will give a BJ, and do often and enjoy it, but I want to give it. I also don’t tell men what to do to me either though.

It’s an exploration I think. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I can’t stand arrogant people. Another huge turn on for me is authenticity and honesty and a drive to live life. A complete turn-off is a man sitting in front of the goddamn TV every night. Yuck.

What would be your ultimate date or special day/evening with someone?

I’m going to go with someone I’m in a relationship with so it’s not a first date. First dates are awkward. My favorite thing would be to go on a ‘wander’, whether that’s in nature or a city. One of my best days this year was in Seattle. I had coffee and breakfast in a kickass coffee shop, went to outdoor yoga, kayaked the sound, had lunch in an old diner, lay on the sunny beach and read a book and people watched, biked 8 miles back downtown, got pizza and watched a movie. Throw a sexy sweet man into that day with sex bookmarking the day and kisses throughout and that would be a perfect day to me.

Do you have any rules that you stick by, and why?

I have not done well with rules. At first I was not going to have men here. Ha. Then I was only going to have sex and not have actual dates or any activities. I haven’t done a lot of activities at this point, mainly food and drinks and sex so this one is fairly intact. The DJ has gotten past this several times but I enjoyed it. The main rule I’m trying to follow now is to listen to the inner voice of me and trust it.

Worst vs best date so far?

God. Worst? Honestly the Zen Man drunk and high at my place telling me how to suck his dick. Truly awful. I felt trapped.
Best? The DJ still has that one with the day of crepes and sunshine and conversation. Best sex though is The Poet so far.

Have you experienced ageism in dating, or limitations on your ability to achieve your goals?

When I recently turned 55 I had to change my age on Tinder. I had aged out of people’s searches. I don’t look nor act 55. I actually pass for 15 years younger consistently. I recently deleted Tinder but had my age as 49 on there. Other than the initial match I have not. It seems to be a turn-on for many, at least the ones that match. The ones who don’t like it are not swiping right so that’s okay.

Do you have a minimum or maximum age in someone as a hook-up or partner? (Or different limits for different circumstances?)

I have adult children. I told my 30-year-old daughter recently that my hookup cut-off is three years older than her which she thought was too close. LOL. I dated someone four years older than I am all summer but that was an anomaly. I set my range on apps from 20 years younger to four years older. I do like many of the late 40s, early 50s men I’ve met but for fun I like the younger ones also. Right now my best and most fun sex is with someone 18 years younger. If I were to meet an energetic open man older than me I’d be open but I haven’t seen that yet.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Do you have a dream you’re searching for?

In five years’ time, I will be a therapist in the Pacific Northwest. I hope to be in a relationship with a kind, sexy, authentic reader/thinker/adventurer. I’d love to have #yearofsluttery on the NYT Best Seller list and working as a consultant on the film. I want to write and speak about sluttery and female empowerment.

 

Thanks to Scarlett for being so candid and if your interest is piqued, head on over to Year of Sluttery’s latest post.