Are You Right for Each Other? The One True Test of Relationship Compatibility

relationship compatibility

When I was in high school, there was a girl named Stephanie who had it all. She was tall with a pretty face and a nice figure.

Her dad was one of the richest guys in town and gave her the choice of any brand-new car she wanted for her sixteenth birthday. Nearly all the popular guys in our school stood in line for their turn to date her.

I did not stand in line.

If you asked me if she was an attractive person, I would have said “yes” without a second thought. However, I was not attracted to the idea of myself in her presence. She was taller than me by a good inch. She wore clothes that made mine look shabby.

And the worst thing was her silly way of interacting with people. I was very serious during my high school years, and I took pride in the accomplishments I was already pursuing at that early age.

Stephanie liked to engage people with as much silly banter as she could. It’s not that I couldn’t see the value of that playful style of interaction; it’s just that it didn’t play to my strong suit.

I could imagine myself feeling awkward and unlikable compared to her when trying to interact with her friends. In contrast, my friends looked up to me for my tendency to deeply consider questions before responding. I had my silly side too, but I wouldn’t want to be that version of myself twenty-four-seven.

Here’s what I’m getting at…

When I am attracted to you, it means I want more of you in my life. Even beyond that though, attraction means I enjoy being me when I am in your presence.

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but you change depending on who you are spending time with.

Some people draw out one facet of your personality while other people pull for another facet of your personality. Like a diamond with many facets carved into the stone, the light you reflect back at others changes depending on your surroundings.

“Some people are so much sunshine per square inch.” That’s a quote from Walt Whitman. His statement captures so much truth. I personally like myself better when I am in the company of people who have that special “sunshine” quality.

The sunshine quality is very different than the silly quality. You can be reserved in your demeanor yet beaming with sunshine as someone approaches you to strike up a conversation.

It’s not that I like a sunny kind of person more than I like a sad person. I love them both; but I like myself better when I spend time with a woman who has that special sort of “sunshine” quality.

“Live life as a monument to your soul.”

Ayn Rand

relationship compatibilityHere’s the number-one reason why I think you should consider how a potential partner brings out various facets of your own personality. My reasoning is reflected in the quote above. I want my soul to shine as I live my life. Therefore, I want to choose a partner who will help my soul to genuinely shine.

Does this make sense to you? Do you only look at the qualities and characteristics of a potential partner, or do you consider how they magnify or dull the radiance of your own best qualities?

Always on your side,


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82 thoughts on “Are You Right for Each Other? The One True Test of Relationship Compatibility

  1. Ronnie Lee said:

    Dear dear James, this is definitely some of your best work and I just had to write and express how grateful I am for your brain and it’s thoughtful accuracy. My soul has a voice and my brain now has the exact wording to express what I must have in a mate. Signed,your grateful fan!

    • James Bauer said:

      I really appreciate that!

      • James, you are surely not any run-of the-mill relationship counsellor. I think you may be wasted in this “silly” milieu; that maybe it is time for you to create a platform where you can truly express all that you have become and be heard by a wider audience. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • James Bauer said:

          Wow! That’s a really nice compliment. Thanks for the encouragement!

          • Chris Ann said:

            I totally agree, James. You should be nationally recognized with your own TV show such as Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz. Maybe you need to rub shoulders with Oprah?

          • James Bauer said:

            I’d love to. Maybe you can introduce me? ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Angelique said:

            Dear James: I keep following your work all along, in fact, I only read from YOU on the subject about relationships as your intuitive wisdom, unbelievable deep understanding of people’s psychology and intrinsic power and knowledge how to frame your thoughts in the exact manner to reach the right audience make you an impeccable counselor, a brilliant healer, an intuitive shaman and in a sense, a “medicine man”…
            Much gratitude!!!

          • James Bauer said:

            ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks, Angelique. Though in some circles in my culture we discount “shaman,” as a fake, I have traveled enough to know you meant that as a compliment. I appreciate it!

        • Carolyn said:

          I agree with Lynne. Perhaps a book. Then you can be a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, (NPR) and other programs mentioned to promote your book.
          Your insights and wisdom, the things you teach, are tools I wish I had learned much younger. I would have avoided many of the pitfalls and saved much grief and heartache in the past.

          • James Bauer said:

            Wow, thank you.

    • maria said:

      We all need sunshine!

      • Marรญa linda Aguirre said:

        This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of. Thank you so much, ML

  2. Yasmin Asgarali said:

    Very nice! I agree…thank you for sharing. This parallels the notion of being with people that bring out and nurture our authentic selves ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Joni said:

    What a beautiful way to look at another person. Thank you.

  4. Odette said:

    The message is so clear and obvious; so why did it take me 43 years to figure it out!

    Just as I did, I see young people grapple with the pressures of achievieving perfection in order to feel validated and worthy of a quality partner….. I wish I could shout it from the roof-tops!!!!

    Your message supports the simple notion that…. we dont fall in love with the qualities of another person, we fall in love with how we feel in their presence!! Its about what we project to another to help them feel wonderful about themselves that will be our most valuable endearing quality…..

    Why dont they teach this stuff in schools to young people….. they could avoid a life time of wondering why “they arent good enough” to deserve the happiness they see around them….. How simple the winning formula is!!

    Thankyou James….. once again!!

    • Julie said:

      I am with someone right now that I feel literally makes my soul sing. I can be multifaceted with him. I can be silly, I can be serious and it’s just wonderful. So I agree different people brings out different parts of you

  5. amanda said:

    Wow, this one really made me realize something about someone in my life. What you explained is exactly what I love about this person. Thank you… thank you very much!

    • James Bauer said:

      Glad the article helped, Amanda.

  6. Shaz said:

    This is really enlightening! You’re right, we should choose partners who bring out the best in us…then we can radiate that ‘best’ back out into the world. Too often I change to be what I think my partner wants…and that tends to dull my sunshine…and theirs. Thanks James! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Anette said:

    When you reflect what’s in your soul you will attract all kinds of people. The tricky part is to know what’s IN your soul – and then choosing a partner that complement it (not fit it)…

    I’ve been with an abusive partner for 8 years – and when I finally had rid myself of these patterns in myself – he left. And my – what a great move!!! Because now I’m ME as I’ve never been before ๐Ÿ™‚

    When the sun shines in your soul you will attract the good people and know how to stay clear of the bad apples.

    • Valencia said:

      Anette, HOW did you do that ( had rid myself of these patterns in myself )? I wanna do that too! In myself! I feel so bad right now in the presence of my husband like never ever before in the whole my life!
      Thank you, James, I’ve looked at myself from the other side and understood that maybe I shouldn’t fight for him… Maybe let him go…

      • Susie Howard said:

        I know how you feel with my husband I don’t even know what to say or do since he’s having an affair with my niece the one I love dearly it almost feels like a dream like a nightmare and I wish I would wake up from but I take one day at a time and you always says I’m number one he loves me more but he will never leave her

        • Susie Howard said:

          Valencia what is going on in your life?

    • Rachel Schenk said:

      The exact same thing happened to me! I knew my real self was buried somewhere deep inside. It only came out when I was with my true friends. Now that he has passed away (committed suicide from alcoholism and Rx abuse), I can finally be free to be me.

      James, you soliidified exactly what I was trying to figure out all of these years Thank you for reiterating that staying true to yourself among others is one of the best ways to know your relationship is healthy!

  8. Ludah said:

    James! You are absolutely a geniuos. Mine is just a question,Why is it that some of us don’t realise the importance of the soul? and mostly they take it for granted where by it gets wasted and lately abunded.

  9. Jenny said:

    Love this post. Made me smile from the inside and out ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Joan said:

    The heart and soul are the essence of our Being and hold many facets of who we are as individuals. That is why we can be surprised with those we care about when they exhibit unexpected personality aspects that we haven’t seen before or considered.

    Being human most always keeps us in the ego state where we see things mainly from our personal view of reality. Good or bad traits in relationships are revealed slowly over time that inspire us to evaluate and consider whether that person is good long term relationship material. We all want to be loved, respected, and cherished in a relationship with someone that offers support and care for us in various ways, and that will enhance and bestow comfort and contentment in our souls.

    Showering our relationships with sunny side up aspects of ourselves is so important to keep the persons we choose to spend time with comfortable and happy. But we must remember that it is equally important to consider what we require to remain sunny and bright…. basically by surrounding ourselves with those that offer the care and comfort back, This keeps us motivated to give the best of ourselves!

    P.S. Cherish those evolved souls who wander into our lives, as they can often be diamonds in the rough.

    And…. so fun to read your universally, inspiring words, James! Your commentaries assists us to be the best we can be as individuals and to grow outside of ourselves. (As so many of us trip ourselves up!)

    Happy, sunny day!

    • James Bauer said:

      You have a way with words, Joan. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  11. Wow! You Have such an easy way of putting things to help me understand relationships on a deeper level! I could not have come across your book at a better time. Feeling helpless and wondered often what my problem was…especially for my boyfriend to call of our relationship after being together for 3 years.

    Long story short, I bought the book. Started to apply it to my life…then I noticed a dramatic change in the way he was treating me…we finally got back together, and are happily dating again!

    I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for the wisdom and advice you have given in the book “What Men Secretly want”

    I personally look forward to reading your emails every week! Ah! Thanks so much, you’re amazing ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. I appreciate this so much. I now know to stop wondering about a relationship that almost worked out. It does not matter since I would not really shine in his presence. Not fully. I am evolving and really starting to shine. I will keep this in mind for the next relationship. I shine and he shines.

  13. Lila VERONESE said:

    That is true, that is so clever, I hope many people will understant and feel that. I’m 71 and try to share that philosophy with my young friends…

  14. Susan said:

    Being who you are fully is very important. Excepting others for who they are is as well. Being at ease and yourself with others is what we all want. Letting others know they can be themselves without judgement is paramount. But throughout this realization we must remember that we are improving on ourselves. That silly girl may not be the one who reflects sunshine on some but on others. Knowing ones own self and accepting ones self with the personality that is theirs will shine through. The problem with this and showing different facets to different people is others may not expect that one has different facets. The key to this is rememberย it is not always the woman who needs improvement. It is both. Both need to accept as well. Both need to be themselves.

  15. This is something I have thought about to myself, thanks James for your confirmation, Be who you are, it is difficult to change someone’s character, may change overtime, accept them the way they are would be best.

  16. what a wonderful article! I’ve had an experience recently that has taught me this philosophy. It’s so true and worded so eloquently. Thank you..

  17. IM said:

    Absolutely agree with the statement that we change while interacting with others, people and surroundings influence our behavior and I did notice these: it does! And we definitely should choose a partner who can get best out of us only by his presence. But don’t you think the statements in the article are contradicting them-selfs, you say you like to be around “sunshine” people and at the same time it states that we influence this very personality to shine or not to shine. It sounds like there are rare people out there that always shine? no matter with whom and where they are? And they don’t get under our influence? Please clarify? If this is the case it’s definitely an exception. Otherwise, I noticed that every-one, every-person can be at its highest sunshine point and NOT depending only with whom they are interacting. So to conclude with a BIG question: when I found myself shining brightly with one person and a hour later I found myself not at all with another, who shall I consider myself: am I “sunshine” or not? And one more point, I can notice when my presence does the same to another person I’m interacting with, but in certain cases I do care and others I don’t, who am I after this?

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow! You’re going deep into the underlying philosophy! You raise some interesting questions and subtle nuances of this concept. Very interesting insights you have. I would say we have many different states of being and all of them combine to make up who we are, rather than just one state. However, we can encourage the states (in ourselves) that we most highly value by noticing the very things you point out here (e.g., that some people bring out a certain energy from within us).

      • Alla said:

        Thank you James! We want to be around people who bring the best out of us and we should not settle for less, however, in my opinion, we should strive to be the source of light and shine regardless how the other person makes us feel . If we are always positive, we will attract positive, and we will reform the world.

  18. Dee said:

    What a great article! You hit the nail on the head! I think many people do not know themselves. They have not identified who they really are. They have formed an “outside” personality to fit into who ever they are around, yet feel no one understands them. Truth is that they have not let others know their real self. Every one of us is unique…. let your uniqueness show!
    In my younger days I too tried to fit in. As I matured I found that I was happier being who I was even if I didn’t “fit in” at the time; to be myself, not just a reflection of someone else. Now when I meet someone new, I seek to find something about them I like and relax, putting the attention on them, not myself. People are now more comfortable and natural with me because I am with them. And as I learn about others, I also grow in knowledge of myself. Through this I have found sound relationships…. not just with men but with both sexes. Emily Dickenson said “We turn, not older with years, but newer every day”. Be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and love the new you.

  19. Words of wisdom! A healthy person will build a happy life an seek out a partner who will enhance that life.

  20. Lately I keep hearing/reading this same wisdom being expressed in different ways, with different words, and in longer or shorter versions, but it can always be reduced this simple thought: (It’s a quote from someone, I’m sure, but I don’t know who )

    People may soon forget what you have said or done, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.

    That applies to good, bad or otherwise….and when you really delve into it, the concept is profound.
    Thank you for one of the longer, enriching version.

  21. This has been one of the most inspiring and eye opening ways I’ve seen someone put in words to carefully watch what others bring up in us, if they support us in shining our light, or if they bring up other facets in us. Brilliant James, thank you!

  22. Sylvia said:

    You know James?
    You are the best relationship coach, and I love read your articles!
    Brilliant, thank you for the inspiring view!

  23. Wilmien said:

    Hi James
    It seems a lot of the things you focus on starts with being happy and emotionally independant.I truly find that hard to accomplish but it explains why guys I don’t care about are crazy about me.I know I am a kind off cynical,black comedy,serious person.I am also still hung up on my ex,I compare every guy to him.and a lot of time have passed since how do miss unshine become miss sunshine.

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a good question, and one I wish I could answer with a sentence. I’ll tell you the most important thing. Start with the intention to put your own happiness as one of the highest priorities. This changes your thought process when things go wrong. Instead of insisting things go right before you allow yourself to be happy, you choose a perspective that allows you to be happy now, even if you don’t get what you want.

      It is not a selfish thing to do. You will find it is mostly about choosing perspectives that allow you to experience whatever present circumstances you face in a way that brings joy rather than anxiety about the future or regret about the past. One of the traits of the happiest people in the world is that they put happiness as the highest priority, and everything else comes second.

  24. Lily said:

    Dear James,

    You are YOURSELF so much sunshine per square inch!!!
    And thank you so much for being that for not just one special person in your life, but for all of us! I love you, can I say that?

  25. Deanne Guardino said:

    Is it true that a man would not like to be ‘out-shined’ by his woman? And I don’t mean in the light, silly, playful way that you described Stephanie, I mean in a spiritual, deeper, kinder, more intellectual way?

  26. Deborah said:

    Such a simple, elegant explanation! Thank you.

  27. Mimi said:

    James, your information is thoughtful, well articulated and transformational. It is obvious that you know your business and the depth of your information pales to much of the advice I have read elsewhere. You really do need to explore the opportunity for wider coverage such as a television show or at least guest appearances. Your advice is truly spiritual and not just how to find and keep a partner. That is why your advice is transformational.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks, Mimi. I really do appreciate those powerful words of encouragement.

      • James, my name is also Mimi and I am a counselor . I echo this woman’s thoughts. Your information is transformational at the deeper spiritual level that will make a major difference in our lives. You really do need to explore the possibility of a television program. It would be a hit and so very helpful to thousands as you are trying to help individuals make major life changes by shifting their perspectives and not just to “get the man”.

        • James Bauer said:

          I can’t tell you how much that means to me, Mimi. Thank you. I’ll keep working and see what happens.

          • zanne said:

            Hey James! I, too, am a relationship counselor and writer and agree wholeheartedly with what Mimi (and others) are saying above. Insight is a gift–thank you for sharing it.

  28. Alexandra said:

    Dear James,

    That was beautiful and insightful. Thanks a lot. I do believe that some people help you connect with the highest version of yourself and that a partner that does not do it is not the person I would want to ‘invest’ love in or share my life with. Thank you for your useful and thoughtful reflections and for this amazing Christmas present. Be sure this is the right path for you and that this path is not only about how to be romantically involved with someone else but how be spiritually involved with oneself.

  29. Laura said:

    James, you are by far the only “relationship coach” who keeps posting truthful and insightful articles. I follow numerous coaches because of my personal interest of this field. The majority focuses on “men need the chase” and “women need to stay mysterious” sort of stuff. They concentrate on things that lay merely on the surface or things that help you “play the game”.

    I absolutely love your publications and have recommended these to numerous friends and family members.

    Thank you!


    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Laura. It means a lot to me.


  30. Jean said:

    So true. I have found a wonderful man. He brings out my inner beauty as well as a playful one. He is funny, sweet,kind,gentle the most caring man ever. We understand each other so well. Yet he has been hurt badly and when we get closer, he backs away. He cares and tells me so and says he wants to take it slow. I know how he feels through his actions. But he keeps those walls around his heart. Sometimes he lets me in and sometimes not……..we are slowly working through it and he says he is afraid of hurting me. Any suggestions, I’m so in love with him.

    • James Bauer said:

      First of all, congratulations. That’s a wonderful thing to find someone who brings out your best qualities like that.

      I recommend you pressure him and find sneaky ways to force the relationship to move faster than his healing will allow (just kidding). It sounds like you are moving at the perfect pace for what he needs to heal and open up to you. Let that happen and don’t hold your breath. Drink in the present and enjoy it fully.

  31. Jean Marie said:

    Dear James,
    I have been working with my own mind and heart, within the context of a mindfulness path, and as a very much alive and connected human being. I have found your work to be exceptional and very much reflective of the teachings that I deeply and genuinely relate to. I wanted to add that this last piece of yours mirrors the first note I ever wrote to my now fiancรฉ, “You magnify my natural happiness.” And that is why he and I are partners and he is the man for me. We mirror one another’s goodness in an authentic, life enhancing way. Your work is very beneifical for humanity. Continue!
    With warmth and gratitude,
    Jean Marie

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you, Jean Marie. That makes me happy.


  32. This one really had me stop and think. Have to admit it makes a lot of sense. Reminded me that my husband filing for divorce when he had an affair with a married woman (she ditched him after two months) was the best thing he ever did for me. Brought out a better and different person than I was when was married to him.

    Amazing how you can move on..yes it hurts like hell at first, but you can and do move on to better. This article was so dead on in every word.

    I agree that you are selling yourself short by only sticking to this newsgroup. If I had connections I’d introduce you in a heartbeat to Dr. Phil. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. There is a Ted Talk about marrying yourself that first introduced me to this idea of worrying less about wooing or winning favor with the person you’re with, and more about how you feel in his/her presense. The silly vs. sunny/funny concept is also well stated. Big difference. Well written. Thank you.

  34. BeatriceMarie said:

    I loved this article. Thank you for writing it. In fact, thank you for the wonderful news letters you send on a regular basis. I have signed up to other relationship newsletters and few of them have your professionalism and ability to encourage deep, meaningful insight like yours do. You have no idea how much I look forward to receiving up. You truly have a gift, James. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you. That means a lot to me.

  35. Marg said:

    Wow …you don’t just know about relationships …but the human psyche as well. Yours is the only email newsletter I actually read and learn from every time.
    Thank you!!

  36. p said:

    Dear James,
    Thank you for this. I always enjoy being as sunny as possible and appreciate the folks in my life who enjoy this quality about me. It is nice to know that there are men out there that, according to this article, love that quality in a woman.
    I read your emails more than I read any other “love advice” type writer.
    Keep up the wonderful and insightful work. It is inspiring and incredibly valuable.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you. I appreciate that!


  37. Margaret said:

    Wow! This was a particularly good article (among all the other good articles) that really hit home. Thank you for the insight, examples and new perspective!

  38. Kim said:

    As God does so in my life, this message came when I really needed it. Long story short, I’m a newly separated single mom who has accepted and begun to heal from her own emotional scars so that 1. I can truly love myself unconditionally. 2. Be the best mother to my two little boys. and 3. Hopefully, in some future time, share my light and love with another soul who brings out the best sunshine in me and I do the same for him.

    Thank you for this message, James. Couldn’t have come at a better time. Your writing speaks to me differently than others.

  39. Linda said:

    You are a light to a world in great need…so many broken hearts…your teachings reflect Gods ways…Jesus is the true healer…but you have spelled it out in ways easily to apply to live by. When I add this to the truth that I know it reassures me and guides me to making good choices. Thank you for helping me through a difficut time. My husband died last year and I started dating again. Your book and letters have been a blessing to me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you, Linda. I appreciate your encouraging words. It means a lot to me, and I’m proud of you for approaching life in search of what’s good even after such a loss.


  40. Kat said:

    That was very interesting and absolutely lovely! I had to put that on Facebook! I completely concur! Thank you for sharing! ( :

  41. Tracy said:

    That last paragraph hits me hard as I contemplate my current relationship. Thank you for this.

  42. Donna said:

    Dear James, I loved the parts that said when I am attracted to you it means I want more of you in my life and I enjoy being me when I am in your presence.” That spoke to me. I think that is how you know if someone is right. Thank you for putting into words what I feel. I just want to say to you James that your blessing at the end of your tip section is beautiful. I call it a blessing because it makes me feel that you care about my happiness and love. Thank you.

  43. Marie-Anne Lutchmaya said:

    Dear James, I will from now on, have your thoughts engraved in golden letters on my heart. A person falls in love with another only because he or she feels wonderfully uplifted in this person’s presence. It has changed my mindset forever. Thank you.

    • James Bauer said:

      It’s always a pleasure to encounter someone who takes these words to heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Carolyn Morrison said:

    I am grateful that you have shared what you’ve learned and experienced. Your words and writings were the beginning of my quest to uncover the parts of my heart and soul that have been missing in action, it seems, throughout my life. I have been on a 2 month journey of reading, writing, practicing, and questioning my besties. I always return to your emails for your next words of wisdom, my next improvement quest, and links to the writings of others in your field of expertise.
    One of the best things I’ve heard from my male and my female best friends is that they have noted changes, good ones. I didn’t even have to ask. I was told I’ve come a long way in a short span of time, how my voice has actually changed, how well I handle controversial conversation, as well as how I seem to have a well-grounded understanding about myself and the possible meaning of declarations and responses of others.
    I ‘see’ more people I want to talk with and I DO talk with more people than I had in the past.
    I love going out socially, where in the past, I dreaded it. I go places alone and with confidence and the knowing that I will bring a good quality of light-hearted conversation and good “vibes” along with me.
    “Be Irresistable” are the favorites I look for in my emails. The subject sometime ‘startles’ me into an “I knew that” why don’t I do that? state of consciousness.
    This one is special and very true. I will pay much better attention to the sunshine that another brings out in me from here on in.
    Thank you so very much, James Bauer!

    • James Bauer said:

      I appreciate your encouraging words, Carolyn. You just made my day!

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