Todays topic crosses the line between work and personal interpersonal relationships. We will explore the different kinds of chemistry that people have with each other. While it’s true that you can game chemistry is small quantities by following a set of techniques (which we can cover in a later post) todays discussion is on chemistry in its natural form.
My thesis is that there are 2 basic types of Chemistry; Deep & Experiential.
Deep Chemistry is what you feel when you meet someone and you ‘click’ (see Ori Brafman’s book) with them. It is the ability to fall into ‘natural’ conversation where nothing is really off limits and you accept each other as you are. The key here is acceptance and mutual respect. While you can develop it over time, in general you either have natural chemistry or you don’t. Deep Chemistry is what we as humans crave for our emotional well being. We just want it. All of it and much of it. It’s the perfect partnership in theory as you connect.
Experiential Chemistry is what you feel when you have great experiences with people. It can be doing a deal with someone and when you are both in the zone you riff perfectly back and forth or it can be when you have magically romantic dates or someone on your basketball team when you are on the court. However Experiential Chemistry leaves when out of context of that experience. You can have the most amazing deal experience or date experience and have a great time, so great you end up working with or just with someone for years. However, once the experiences stop, there is a certain lacking connection that is hard to cross.
Which Chemistry is more important? It depends on what you want. You can have amazing Deep Chemistry and have a terrible relationship and you can have the best Experiential Chemistry but never quite are happy since you don’t feel the last leg of click when you are outside of your experiences.
The dream of course is to have both. If forced to choose, I’m a romantic at heart and will choose Deep Chemistry over Experiential Chemistry though it’s a very hard choice. Deep relationships tend to be more volatile over time with bigger fights, partially because of the deep connection so you’re more comfortable that the other person won’t leave, and partially because its just easier (and usually more fun) to fight with someone you connect with. If its experiential, the fights are usually more tactical and bland and quick and not quite as much fun.