Why Common Values Trumps Common Interests


Most recently I found out there was another woman in the picture when Cristian and I first met. I don’t know the details (and frankly it’s not important) but what I do know is that she and Cristian had more in common than we did. She was a sporty woman who shared the same love for the snow (I moved to Australia to avoid it) and indie/electronic music. Not being the type to date two women at once, he made the decision to choose me instead.

When I asked him why he chose me, he simply said – because her and I shared interests on a superficial level but we were more compatible at the heart.

At the core, men crave a deeper emotional connection like women do. And what we value ultimately determines how we connect with people close to us. I have never heard a guy say – I like her because we like to do the same things and the guys I interviewed for this article tend to agree: “Your guy/girl friends can like the same things you do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to date them”, Ricardo, 34.

“Values go right to the heart of who a person is vs interests which can change easily overtime. Where interests answers what a person does with their spare time, values answers why a person does what he/she does”, R, 29.

“Your values define the meaning of your life and how you act in different situations every single day. Interest may only be good to build rapport”, G, 28.

When it comes to values, here are the top 5 men can consider:


How you treat your partner is one thing but how you treat everyone, strangers, colleagues and close friends and family speaks volumes about your character. “I feel like if someone likes you enough, they’ll like that you’re interested in something, even though they aren’t”, says Nick, 30. “We don’t have to like the same things but I like to do activities and stuff”. Integrity can mean different things to people. For me, to have integrity is to stay true to your word – to say what you mean and mean what you say. For others, it could mean treating waiters and service staff with respect, it could mean loyalty, honesty and simply showing up when you say you will.


Honesty is one of the core pillars in building a great relationship and yet it’s often overlooked by many. I’m not just referring to the ‘I will not cheat and lie’ type of honesty. I’m talking about the bravery that comes with telling someone how you feel about them whether it’s good or bad. It’s having the courage to be vulnerable and open to love and being loved no matter what the consequences. Or in my case, to tell your partner that you may have booked your honeymoon flights from a dodgy travel agency based overseas.


This one is pretty straight forward. Loyalty in relationships is a given but loyalty to the people around you is another value men consider when they’re thinking about a future with you: “To be honest I don’t think loyalty matters as much in the early stages of a relationship. When you’re not exclusive with someone, anything goes. You can probably assume they are seeing other people”, says Nate, 32.


This is an interesting one. Interfaith relationships do exist but in my experience, when one side of a relationship puts religion as their highest value, the relationship works best when their partner shares the same faith. I’ve met many women who’ve been in long term relationships only find that once things got serious, their man’s family was oppose to the idea because of their respective faiths. Can interfaith relationships be successful? Absolutely. As long as both parties go into the relationship with an open mind.


You know what they say – when you marry someone you’re also marrying their family. So family values are important when considering whether or not a relationship is worth pursuing long-term. Things to consider: does family time matter to you? how involved do you want your parents to be in your (future) children’s lives? Family matters can get complicated especially when you get older. It could mean having to care for your partner’s immediate family should anything happen. I’m lucky that my partner and I share similar values and if anything unexpected were to happen, I’m prepared to bear the responsibility of whatever comes. However, not all would agree with my approach. It’s best to lay this on the table.

Image via Unsplash

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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.