In my experience, the answer is: you talk. You talk a lot. About everything. You talk about goals. You talk about dreams. You talk about what you want your relationships to look like. You talk about what you want your life to look like. You talk about values. You talk about your past relationships. You talk about how you prefer to solve problems. You talk about what you want out of life.
Talking reveals a lot of incompatibilities. You want to live in a city, they want to live on the farm. You dream of traveling all over the globe, while they want to stay home and hate travel. And while you’re talking, you pay attention to how you talk and how deeply you understand one another. So you speak the same language and use even same words. You hear everything your partner says without having to search for hidden meaning or use a codebook.
Observation is somewhat important and you look at how you and the other person expresses friendship, care, love, and affection.
You discuss how you both handle conflict. Conflict is always going to happen, and incompatible conflict skills can be devastating because they crop up when you are most vulnerable. During times of conflict, how you see your partner as adversaries or as partners working to solve a problem?
How you and your partner respect keeping each other personal space. Are you both willing to make reasonable accommodations for each other, or if you have differences about how you want to divide work or maintain space, do you dig in your heels and say “my way or the highway?” the first, best way to evaluate compatibility is communication.
All this requires communication, and plenty of it, but as George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
I have a few friends that I can effortlessly communicate. From the beginning, we’ve to know that we speak the same language so naturally and so easily that we haven’t even had to think about it.
Sometimes when we do not think and just enjoy, and communication becomes so effortless, we may take it for granted, which meant there were a few occasions in the past where our communication failed…
But generally speaking, the first way to evaluate compatibility is communication. A lot of people are too jealous and insecure to hear about a lover’s past relationships. That’s very, very dangerous. People do not spring fully formed out of the head of Zeus. A person’s past shapes who they are today. People tend to repeat their behavior patterns in relationships. The way a person treated his exes will give you very important clues about how they will treat you.
Valuable relationship skills will be able to put jealousy and insecurity aside and hear about previous relationships. If someone refuses to talk about past, it is a red flag.
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