Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Something in Common

I love statistics (a fact I’ve mentioned before). I love data and charts and graphs and polls.  Hence the weekly polls and my fascination with things likes demographic trends and representative samples.

So imagine my delight when I got an email with all of this (silly) poll data from .com.  I nearly jumped for joy.  It seems has gotten into the habit of asking their members lots of questions and then spitting back the results. Now, a quick word – They make statements about “singles” based on the data from these polls, but of course that’s not appropriate.  These are opt in polls on a for fee online dating service, so surely they can’t be representative samples of all singles.  But still, they’re fun.

So this email was football/Superbowl themed. Lots of silly stats related to the Superbowl (which made me think, hasn’t that happened already?). Here’s one that jumped out at me.  40% of singles want their significant other to have a mutual interest in sports, but 80% said they would still date someone who didn’t know what teams were playing in the Super Bowl.

This got me to thinking of all of those online profiles you read where people are defining themselves by their sports teams and their hobbies. As if that was the magic secret. That all it takes was a common interest in the Mets and skiing and you were destined for happily ever after.

Now, I really don’t care one way or the other, if a guy likes the sports I like, or if has a bunch of hobbies that I don’t care for.  As long as there’s a couple of things we enjoy doing together (other than eating and sex) then I’m cool.

Do you think it's important for couples to share the same interests?

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9 to “Something in Common”


  1. david (darkheath) says:

    Similar, or better yet “common”, interests are integral, especially in the areas of religion & politics. I wouldn’t even consider a religious or far right woman right now, no matter how hot.

    Now I’m not saying that each partner can’t have “other” interests and outside hobbies, but having shared interests will only make the couple closer. That’s just common sense. A working relationship is a cohesive unit and the similar interests work as that cohesion. I mean really, if you don’t have that, then what do you have? A sex partner.

  2. missDTM says:

    i don’t think any two people can ever claim to have EVERYTHING in common but they should have a mutual respect for their partner’s differences.

    most of the men i’ve dated have been open to the things i am interested in that are different from them and the ones who aren’t are the ones i kick to the curb quickly. my current boo and i have learned more from each other’s differences than anything else…and we always keep an open mind to each other’s interests.

  3. toywithme says:

    My hubster & I are at opposite ends of the poll when it comes to sports and hobbies. In fact I have a hard time coming up with just one example of something we both enjoy, yet we have been happily married for 25 years this Summer. So I am down for a big fat NO.

    Perhaps some need more common ground in a relationship. Maybe it depends on a persons level of security or confidence. Someone lacking either may feel the need to experience more together in order to feel close. Perhaps.

  4. Terry says:

    The devil is in the detail.

    One should have an appreciation in another’s interest but that does not mean participation in it.

    I like golf, and have a regular Sunday morning game with my buddies. I wouldn’t expect a girlfriend to like or love golf – but to appreciate my interest in it. While it would be nice if she and I would go to Pebble Beach to golf- it would also be just as nice if she would appreciate what it means to me to go there.

    If one enjoys Shakespeare – doesn’t mean the other has to enjoy it- but can appreciate it.

    There are those who say religion is important- and for some it is. While I can appreciate someone’s religious inclination- I would not participate. But I might enjoy a discussion of their theology (I couldn’t have anything to do with someone who doesn’t appreciate their own theology beyond “I was raised in it”).

    The same with politics. I have a very left view of the world (I like to say I am slightly left of Mao). But I appreciate a good “conservative” view that is well thought out, and articulated. I might even want to discuss or debate, without rancor, those views to get a better appreciation (and sometimes seeing something different might persuade me).

    But if I defined my life by “Mets and skiing” then it would be a shallow life indeed– from my vantage.

    The ability to be malleable – to listen, to appreciate is far more important than common interests.

    Besides– doesn’t every couple find their way? Don’t they find their “common” restaurants — enjoy sex in their own way that is different than it has been for others?

    I would hate to think my 52 years of life has totally defined me, and that I cannot find new things to enjoy or appreciate with someone.

  5. Jessica says:

    Having common interests can definitely make it easier for a relationship to thrive, however, you don’t have to like everything your mate/partner enjoys. I hate football (and I do mean hate) but that doesn’t make me feel disconnected from my boyfriend when he starts up a fantasy football league. Similarly, my bf really doesn’t care for reading (his favorite thing to say is “why read the book when I can wait for the movie”) and I work in a library and was an English major in college.

    On the other hand, if all our interests were completely different and we had no common hobbies, I think we’d be in trouble! Luckily, we both love music (and a lot of the same bands), cooking, nature, travel, etc. Yet, you have to wonder…if two people get together who enjoy completely different things, but both are very open to sharing and experiencing new hobbies/interests would the relationship work? Doesn’t there need to be some common ground to start with, or else why would you be attracted to them in the beginning (besides for physical reasons)?

    And I wonder too, is religion or politics considered an “interest”. If so, then can two people with opposite religious or political point of views carry on a happy relationship? I don’t know…when it comes to religion at least. As an atheist the idea of being with someone who has polar opposite views on god makes me a little nauseous! But, when it comes to opposite political view points, however, I have proof that that can work…my parents! My mom is a liberal, just like me, and my dad is conservative…and every election they joke about how their votes just cancel out one another!

  6. Fishy says:

    I think a shared sense of humour is more important – and perhaps a shared moral compass. These are the things that matter – not sports teams or music. Nice post.

  7. Amber says:

    I love surveys and polls. Let me at ‘em! I will take them on the phone, online, and in parking lots across the nation.

    Might be tough to have the same interest in sports. Men are often fanatic about it and women…not so much. It doesn’t matter but a little toleration on either side goes a long way.

  8. Common interests are important as are uncommon, if you will. And sports are a big part of our cultural psyche, so sharing a sport that we both like to follow is great for bonding to each other and to other fans, like cheeseheads. It’s just one of those things that can make life more fun. Peace

  9. Liz says:

    I agree with a lot of previous posters that it is important to respect each other’s hobbies if not have every one in common. For me it is vital to have at least one or two in common, though. Otherwise, every date becomes about watching a movie, and it’s often a compromise movie that neither person particularly wants to see. I simply don’t have time for that in my life.
    And, having hobbies in common can often lead to friends in common.

    That said, I also appreciate having my eyes opened to new worlds and being introduced to new hobbies.

    I admit, furthermore, to being a bit of a snob about taste in movies, books, and music. Again, I don’t have to have the exact same tastes as someone I’m dating, but I have to respect his taste, as I see such things as a sign of intellectual compatibility.