Vida Reviews: Why Him? Why Her?

05 Jun

Why him why her Helen Fisher

Vida Matchmaker takes a look at Helen Fisher’s book in our Vida Reviews series.

These are questions a single person, looking for love, can ask themselves at any given time. Who will I fall in love with, what will they be like, when will it happen, and why will this person work and not someone else. Well, out of those five questions I am happy to say that as a matchmaker I am able to answer four, thanks to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher and her book Why Him, Why Her? Fisher’s theory comes down to what goes on in the chemistry of the brain. She has created a fascinating questionnaire, which over 40,000 people have taken online.

The questionnaire is combined with Fischer’s analysis of, (a dating site she is an advisor of) and the data is used to break down temperaments into four broad categories. The definition of temperament is our inherited traits, i.e. curiosity, aggressiveness, and stubbornness. Previous research on dopamine and norepinephrine, serotonin, estrogen and testosterone proves these brain-chemical systems relate to distinct sides of what makes our personality. Helen pieced together temperament traits that were associated with these chemicals. The four categories she came up with she named: Explorers, Builders, Directors, Negotiators.

People who express dopamine are called Explorers: they typically tend to be risk takers, they are creative, think outside the box, have a lot of energy, are curious, creative, impulsive, and optimistic. They react to words like adventure. The traits of a Builder are ruled by serotonin: they tend to be cautious but not fearful, calm, traditional, community-orientated, persistent and loyal.  Builders tend to respond to words like family. Directors have traits associated with activity in the testosterone system, these people tend to be very analytical, decisive, tough-minded, they like to debate. Directors react to words like intelligence. The fourth type is the Negotiator; which is ruled by the estrogen system, they tend to be broad minded, imaginative, compassionate, intuitive, verbal, nurturing, altruistic, and idealistic. The top word for Negotiators, is passion. Using these words on a date if you know what type your date is will help you reach out to your date more effectively. Take the test now to see what your primary and secondary type is.

Once you know your primary type, and the primary type of the person you are seeking or dating, you are better able to understand them. This answers the ‘Who’ and the ‘What’ part of our question. Novelty seeking Explorers tend to be drawn to other Explorers. Builders, looking for a ‘helpmate’ are naturally compatible with other Builders, and opposites attract with Directors and Negotiators who have a natural draw to each other. While Directors are competitive and decisive, Negotiators balance this by being nurturing and compassionate. According to Fisher, we size each other up and know if a relationship is going to work within the first three minutes of conversation.

Now to answer ‘When’. Timing is everything, you must be relationship ready, and in the right frame of mind to meet someone. However other factors also come into play, the closer proximity the person lives or the more frequently you come into contact with them the more likely you are to enter a relationship. Similar background, culture and upbringing is also key to affecting your choice in partner. Fisher observes we are more likely to be open to falling in love during a time of transition, if we have just moved, got a new job etc.

In years to come it could be possible to have a blood test and know what kind of partner you would be compatible with. So perhaps these ‘sparks’ and the chemistry we feel when we meet someone compatible, are actually really down to how much dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen we have in our brains. Our genetic make-up. This answers the ‘Why’. As a matchmaker for the Vida Consultancy I find this a truly exciting prospect.

I hope you enjoyed my ‘Vida Reviews…’ piece. Now go find your love match, and take the test!