With any interpersonal relationship, be it of a personal, romantic, or business nature, compatibility plays a big part in the long term endurance and harmony of the connection. Compatibility is a very general term which can mean a lot of things and include a lot of personal criteria which is specific to the person involved; however, one of the factors of compatibility is the interpersonal rhythm and flow which takes time to decipher and figure out or confirm because it is intangible yet it is relevant enough to be intuitively assessed during the initial stages.

The initial assessment allows for a margin of error since during the beginning there are many factors which cause interference with interpreting what we perceive and experience with the other person. Gradually this assessment is either confirmed or refuted as the daily rhythm of interaction occurs through a sustained period of time, all the nuances with come into play and would cause either the continuance or cessation of the interaction.

One factor is the biological clock. Not that having a friendship with people who have different biological clocks is impossible, but being similarly early risers or late sleepers would result in more possible time for quality interactions during the waking hours as well as a similar perspective peculiar to the sleep-wake cycles preferred.

Even the rhythm of keeping in touch and giving each other space figures in what I’m referring to as interpersonal rhythm and flow. There are people who prefer to be constantly SMSing with each other and leaving the communication open in a continuous communication style with intervals which serve as commas between the next expected interaction and this can flow naturally when there is good chemistry between two people without too much misunderstanding occurring. Some people prefer succinct and finite interactions with a clear beginning and end to every communication occurring and this may also work when both parties feel comfortable with this set-up.

Even the habit of being punctual or tardy would fall into this rhythm as well as the eating frequency and preferences which would also be affected by the preferred sleep-wake cycle. The amount of activities preferred would fall into this flow as well, very outgoing fast-paced characters would have to work harder to adjust to a sedentary home buddy and vice versa and more compromises have to be struck than if the preferences were similar.

There is a myriad of seemingly trivial factors add up in a longstanding relationship and dictates whether it can endure in a closer capacity or it would continue at a distance or dissolve altogether. Even the degree of sensitivity to a partner or friend’s preferences for food, restaurant, or leisure activities would determine whether you spend more time together or apart and this also affects the strength of emotional intimacy.

There are people whom we feel are “less work” to get along with and the interpersonal rhythm and flow factors in it as well as nuances of personality. To explore all the details included in interpersonal rhythm and flow, it might be a book length blog post so I’m just keeping it succinct and mentioning a few examples to illustrate the point.

None of us would be big fans of having to work so hard to keep a friendship or relationship alive and we naturally gravitate towards and interact with people who have more similarity to us in interpersonal rhythm and flow as well as personality and interests. This is not to say that having a connection with someone who is our opposite in temperament is impossible, it would take more effort, more patience, and more compromise as well as improvement of one’s communication style to get one’s point of view across.

Attraction and chemistry are all well and good–at the beginning. The rhythm and flow constantly underscores all interaction and would color the connection.

Is it worth it or not? It depends on your unique situation, perspective, and personality.

(c) Niconica 2013

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