Why we *don’t* ask about hobbies
By Joy Zheng, Marriage Pact Relationship Psychologist
We’re asked again…and again, and again. On the questionnaire, where’s the questions about music taste? Favorite color? Ice cream flavor? Why don’t you ask about hobbies?
Hobbies are an integral part of our lives. We pour our hearts and souls into these personal activities, investing much of our time, energy, and money. Sometimes, we feel like hobbies are inseparable from who we are as a person. Wouldn’t it be perfect if our partner shared the same passions as us?
It may seem like it. However, we don’t believe in matching based on hobbies for several critical reasons.
Hobbies are fluid
Think about the hobby you had when you were 13. Fast-forward to when you are 20, 30, or 50. Most likely, you wouldn’t have the same hobby. They change over time as your interests tend to wax and wane. Therefore, they aren’t a good determiner of long-term compatibility if they are susceptible to change in comparison to your personality or internal values, which are less dynamic.
Hobbies are subjective
Hobbies are what’s known as “horizontal traits,”meaning they differ on personal preference and aren’t inherently good or bad, according to 2019 research on attraction and intimacy. It depends on point of view. For example, Bea might love the fact that Aden whittles wood in his downtime, but Clara might not care for it. Does this mean Aden and Clara just simply should not go on a date and that Aden and Bea are more compatible? Not necessarily.
Hobbies are not immediate dealbreakers
Let’s say Aden and Clara are very compatible in their values and future goals. They both have a strong desire for adventure and care deeply for the wellbeing of their families, and they love constantly bantering with each other. Will Aden’s woodworking really get into the way of them having a strong and loving relationship? Hobbies rarely would be the reason a relationship isn’t successful.
If you think of a relationship as a house, hobbies wouldn’t be the foundation. They’re like pieces of decor that might catch your eye, but in general, they wouldn’t make or break your decision to purchase the house. Hobbies are flexible and very much subject to preference, and aren’t as great of predictors of compatibility in the long-run. Regardless‚ if your partner is into pottery or stamp collection as much as you, we here at Marriage Pact still wish you both the best.
The relationship psych team @ Marriage Pact studies compatibility to inform the questionnaire. Thoughts? Questions? Reach out at email@example.com.
Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., Sutu, A., & Roberts, B. W. (2019). Sixteen going on sixty-six: A longitudinal study of personality stability and change across 50 years. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(3), 674–695. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000210
Milfont, T. L., Milojev, P., & Sibley, C. G. (2016). Values stability and change in adulthood. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(5), 572–588. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167216639245
Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R. (2019). Romantic Attraction. In Intimate relationships (pp. 225–258). essay, W.W. Norton & Company.