By Niki Davis-Fainbloom
You may know about the concept of having a “type” when dating. This can involve physical features you’re drawn to, a person’s interests, and personality traits that attract you to a potential partner. You may know what you like and are attracted to, and that’s why you give folks who fit your type a chance. But the tricky thing about only dating within a type is that it can sometimes confine us to our dating comfort zones. This tendency can keep us from branching out and exploring new kinds of connections that might be a better fit, or that we enjoy just as much. So, should you try dating outside of your type? Here’s why experts say you might want to give it a chance.
It expands your dating pool
Only being open to meeting people who fall within a certain type significantly reduces your number of potential connections. By casting a wider net, you may develop a rapport with someone who is a great match, despite not being the type of person you’d initially think to approach. “When you focus less on a type, you’ll be more open and curious when interacting with different people,” says psychologist Theresa Feulner. “You may meet someone amazing.”
When you consider daters from all types of backgrounds and experiences—without rejecting people based on surface details—it’s more likely that you’ll find someone who is truly a good match for you. To start looking outside of your type, remember to read someone’s full Bumble profile and to seek out details beyond their photos. You might connect based on one of your common interests, or laugh out loud at one of their Profile Prompts.
It allows you to think about what you really want in a partner
There’s a difference between having a type and having standards. For example, it’s perfectly reasonable to want to date somebody who’s emotionally intelligent, fun, and open to new experiences. However, finding someone who meets these standards and lives within a certain distance or has a specific job may be more difficult.
Putting your type aside allows you to consciously think about what you want in a partner without getting distracted by the superfluous details. “It’s more important to have certain basic requirements, such as ‘I need a partner who is mature and emotionally available for a committed relationship,’ rather than to focus on a particular type of person,” says Feulner. To broaden your net, write a list of qualities you’re looking for in a partner. Then, spend some time looking at Bumble profiles and give folks who seem like they may have these qualities a chance.
It helps you consider what you might be overlooking
It’s natural to make assumptions about someone based on the limited information that you’re given in their profile. But sometimes these first impressions can lead us to making judgements that confirm our pre-existing beliefs and overlook information to the contrary. When we rely solely on what we already know, it can make us more likely to reject those who are not our type.
On the flip side, “If you already believe that someone is wonderful (maybe because they’re just your type), you may devote less mental attention to observations that don’t fit that picture,” says psychologist Dr. Nikki Press. As a result, it may take longer to notice yellow or red flags when dating your type because you may feel like you know them well based on a few outward characteristics. You’re only getting a taste of each person via their profile. Instead of jumping to conclusions, see how it feels to give more folks a chance—and realize that every person contains multitudes.
You’ll have new experiences
By challenging yourself to get to know different types of people, you can have more varied, expansive experiences. “Our personality has multiple facets,” says Feulner. “So if you only date one type, you may miss the opportunity to have people compliment your interests in other ways.” Even if the person is not a great match, you can get a taste of different worlds by dating a wide array of people.
Relationship expert Amelia Prinn agrees. “Dating someone outside of your type might challenge your core values, attitudes towards life in general, and political views or help you learn how to think outside of the box,” she says. By dating people with varied interests, you can also have novel, unusual dates. It could be fun to see how you fare at rock climbing, whether you’re a fan of their favorite band, or if you enjoy learning to cook a new dish. The options are endless!
If you set aside your type and give a wide array of folks a chance, it may be easier to look beyond the surface details and find someone to connect with who shares your core values. Perhaps you’ll end up creating a relationship that’s deeper and more meaningful than you ever imagined.