From ‘You gotta find common ground!’ to ‘Opposites attract!’, there’s a plethora of contradictory (and often unwanted) advice that couples get when discussing how important are common interests in relationships. While both sides have a point, you will find eventually that the answer to this question cannot be found without a bit of trial and error.
Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak have been giving us couple goals from before the term couple goals even existed. They’ve been married for 34 years and have talked openly about the ups and downs of being in love numerous times. In an interview in Stardust magazine, we find them talking about the very question we are grappling with.
They said that they don’t have a lot of common interests and found that to be a good thing. They had completely opposite interests. For example, she loved cooking and he hated it. But Ms Pathak says that it’s these differences that have kept their relationship fresh in all these years.
But we cannot ignore the common interest in their relationship that drives them all the time – acting. No matter how different they are they have the common ground of love for films and theatre that has bound them together for so many years.
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How Important Are Common Interests In Relationships
Can you be in a relationship with someone you have nothing in common with? I don’t think so. If a couple is absolutely like chalk and cheese then they will not be able to function together and live under the same roof. It is true compatibility does not come from commonality but two peoples ability and willingness to fit into each other’s scheme of things.
So common interests and compatibility are things that are often debated.
If we are looking for common interests meaning then we can say it’s shared interests in things that allows people to do things together, have conversations over it and have shared values.
But let’s face it two people are two different individuals and it is inevitable that they will have different likes, dislikes and interests. For instance Romy and Sam love to read books. While Sam is a sucker for thrillers Romy loves autobiographies. So they do have a common interest in their relationship that is reading but their choice of books is different.
Common interests in relationships are not as important as love, mutual respect, affection and attention but it can make a relationship function better. How? We tell you.
1. Common interests in relationships allow you to have fun
Couples who have common interests often do a lot more more than going for movies and experimenting with food. There is a lot of excitement in their life as they become travel buddies, they could be joining a theatre group together, taking dance classes or even working together building their own company.
Having common interests does not mean being stuck together 24X7 though. For instance, both partners might have an interest in films but their choice of films could be different.
Having different choices also gives us a space of our own in a relationship. The idea of a long-term relationship is usually to co-habitate. Which is great fun but it can become too much.
So if your partner doesn’t like watching your kind of films there’s nothing wrong with going and watching it with someone else, or by yourself even. As a culture, we have put so much importance on doing things together that we judge people who can respect each other’s wishes to do different things in life.
But forcing each other to play golf or watch cricket when the other one hates it, just because society expects us to do things together, sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? So there could be commonalities in a relationship but within the common aspect you could be different too.
2. Common interests become like relationship rituals
There’s, however, the other side of the coin. Having a few interests which are shared is vital for a well-balanced relationship. Opposites attract in some cases, but if your worlds are so far apart that you feel left out of a relationship, it is unhealthy. Ratna Pathak and Naseeruddin Shah had their acting and love for theatre in common. That’s how they met even.
Having shared interests also helps in planning activities in a relationship. Bipasha Basu and husband Karan Singh Grover share their love of fitness and have said that working out together is an important ritual in their relationship. In an interview to Times Of India, he said that they push each other like Olympic athletes while training and their love makes exercising even better.
3. Shared interests help couples to bond
Research has shown that families, not just couples, who play a game together, develop stronger bonds. This research was done based on video games, by the way, not even physical sport. That’s saying something. Shared interests, when treated like a ritual, have therapeutic value.
When we begin seeing someone, we try our best to impress them and pretend to sometimes like things they do. In this period, if you find an interest that is shared, your bonding becomes quicker and smoother. While there is fun to be had in introducing your bae to a whole new interest that you have and they don’t, it can be equally fun to know that they love something just as much as you do.
Remember when you start dating the conversations start from common interests. These conversations continue in your long-term relationship and help you to bond.
4. Common interests in relationships are the litmus test
Look at friendships or any non-blood relationships. We choose our friends, especially as we grow older, based on common interests. It is often the starting point for a conversation in any relationship. We know that we could at least talk about this one thing; it could be food, fashion, sport, psychology, even mathematics! Common interests act like a litmus test in the starting of any new connection.
Do common interests matter in a relationship? Yes, it does. Two people have to have some level of commonality to find a common ground of existence. Imagine living with someone with whom you cannot agree on what to eat, when to sleep, where to holiday, what shows to watch. Life could turn into a perpetual circle of arguments.
5. Shared interests are great but not mandatory
Shared interests then provide us with the space to talk at the beginning of a relationship. They act like a common ground apart from your love that keeps adding a layer of connection in a relationship.
The peer pressure to have shared interests, however, is unfounded and if you both have a separate happening social and cultural life and choose to pursue things alone without roping in your partner in every activity, it is perfectly all right. Shared interests are an added advantage, and by no means should be made into a sign of a good relationship.
Having things in common with your partner does not guarantee that you will have love, respect and affection in the relationship. But it does mean that you would have common grounds of interaction. Although having different interests will make your relationship more interesting and you can teach each other a lot of things.