Opposites Connect

Larry Wilson Opposites Connect

Opposites Connect founder Larry Wilson

Larry Wilson has been on some bad dates.

Really, ask him about them sometime.

Not that he didn't have anything in common with the women he met on online dating sites. In fact, quite the opposite.

The problem, he says, was that they often had too much in common.

Which gave him an idea. A dating site based on conflict.

Yes, conflict.

So on June 1st the Delmar resident is going to launch Opposites Connect -- the dating site that connects people based on their differences.

OK, so really? Setting someone up with their opposite?

You know, I went through a divorce a few years back and after the dust settles people come up to you and say you should get back out there. So I started checking out online dating and ended up joining some of these sites. But what I found was you're seated across the table from a really awesome person that the system is telling you is your 98% match or your 94.5% match and you end up having nothing to talk about because you literally think you know everything there is to know about each other. You forget your social graces, you forget how to hold a conversation. And it ends up you're just repeating what they wrote in their profile.

And all the profiles are the same. "I like sunsets. I'll cook for the right guy. Here's a picture of my dog." And the guys... I started checking out the comptition... "Here's a picture of me in my baseball cap. Here's a picture of me hunting -- but I'm not like other guys."

You fall into what I started calling "date talk." "Soooo... you like sunsets. Me too...."

I got to thinking about what my grandmother always said -- opposites attract.

It's the oldest credo in dating but no one does it. eHarmony matches you with your closest match. Chemistry, Cupid, Plenty of Fish -- all of their systems are to fix you up with your mirror image. And that works for some people. But I thought: "What if we could find a way to have a system that identifies certain moral imperatives: you're a good person, you believe in monogamy -- a good moral base -- and yet brings out your opposite traits. If you have a date with someone and you start with a debate about some issue whether it's frivolous or serious, you're going to gain more respect for them and have a great conversation -- not just date talk.

But why do you have to resort to date talk if you have things in common? If, say, you both like baseball, can't you talk about your favorite players or ballparks or the best games you've been to?

A great show on television was The Odd Couple. A great show on television was Cheers with Sam and Diane. The conflict is what makes it interesting. Sure eHarmony and Match have a lot of success stories. I'm not saying their system stinks... but there are so many people that it doesn't work for, and this is a great alternative.

So is this just marketing, though? You're marketing an online dating service but in a different way.

Of course, but our methodology is different. The "science" behind it is different. When I had this idea, I proposed it to three women who are psychologists in the Albany area, and they loved it. They counsel people about relationships and one of the biggest mistake the folks they meet make is going for the same type over and over and over again. They never give that other person who is so interesting a second glance. We're going to be giving you a chance to meet those people who you wouldn't normally meet. If you are an expert skier, for example and I've never skied. Take me skiing -- I would love to go somewhere I've never been before. That's what we're all about.

40% of everyone who I found on Match locally were also on Cupid and also on eHarmony. They were on three different sites that all do it the same way -- the same system. And they were paying $19 or $20 a piece concurrently. How about giving them the alternative? How about showing them people they're not seeing?

So someone could meet a great match for life or they could just have a really rockin' argument...

Exactly, but why not? Spark the conversation. Gain the respect. Don't just go on someone else's word that you should be together, find out for yourself. We're never going to be like eHarmony and claim that two out of every five marriages in America is from us. If you get married, terrific. But we're going to guarantee your dates are much more fun, much more animated.

OK so how does it work?

If you join now you get a free lifetime membership. We're going to try and keep it free and rely on advertising.

There are three ways to match with someone.

+ There's a quiz that's designed to be fun and humorous that should take you about eight minutes. The quiz was designed with the help of the psychologists to draw out opposite personality traits.

+ There's the oppo-vote, where each week we'll put up a fun poll and show you the people who voted against you.

+ And then we've created a space we call the Rivals Room... which is where you can match based on preferences... say Red Sox/Yankees, rock n'roll/country, liberal/ conservative.

Wait, really?

Sure (laughting), it can happen. Look at James Carville and Mary Matalin.

So in the Rivals Room you join a fan club. You like Starbuck's, someone else likes Dunkin' Donuts. You're gonna get an email from us once a week with the names of people who like Dunkin' Donuts.

But they'll both like coffee?

Right. I don't want to call it science, but there is some really sound thinking behind this. We've worked very hard to craft a test that draws out opposites in peoples personality traits without making it toxic. If someone is a 10 in the overbearing scale we won't match them with someone who is a 0 on the shy scale -- that's not a good date. But maybe a 7 and a 3, sure.

We want to make sure one person doesn't dominate the date -- we're looking for a free flow of ideas. If you hate sports, you won't get matched up with someone whose a sports fanatic. But if you both love music, but one is more country and another rock n' roll, we might put you together.

Is there any kind of study that backs up the opposite's theory?

As far as I know, no one has done an actual study, but there's lots of anecdotal evidence of people who seem so different, but have a great relationship.

Everybody wants this fairy tale where everything is perfect and you don't disagree on anything -- and that doesn't exist. But if you can find something you disagree on but that you're passionate about -- it shows that you're passionate.

We've done some beta testing... setting people up on dates where all they know about each other are the answers to the test questions. There was very little date talk. They had something to talk about. Let's get out of the date talk. I know you like sunsets, but forget it for now... let's have fun.

Comments

This is a great idea! I couldn't be more different than my husband- but we agree on all the "core" principles. It certainly keeps things interesting! Good luck!

I get a runtime error when I attempt to sign up???

THANKS SO MUCH Anonymous! We ALL know so many couples that we look at and say "Wow, they're SO different! But together for SO long!" It works for so many people. Thanks for the good wishes.

Steve, I've alerted your problem to the techies. They'll check it out right away. THANKS for your support and keep trying.

In the meantime, if you're on Facebook we have a Fan Page! You can become a fan there and be alerted to the actual site launch!

yeah, yeah, opposites attract..until they don't. As someone who married her opposite I can say that just like the people who have too much in common and feel like they don't need to talk anymore, with an opposite you end up not talking anymore either. Cause really, what's to talk about? I sometimes find myself silently quoting Ralph Wiggum and want to ask.."so, do you like stuff?" !

Well, English Major, I've been married to my "opposite" for 21 years, and life couldn't be better....

My boyfriend and I are pretty much opposites in most ways. We agree on certain things and have similar views on others, but as for our interests and hobbies, we're about as far as you can get. Take for instance we agree that physical activity is important, but he's a runner who can't swim and I'm a swimmer who is allergic to running.

this is a real dumb idea....opposites do NOT connect...smarty does not date dummy and pretty does not date ugly... he's been on "some bad dates" ?? ...oooofah, that's easy to see why.... yikes!

What a great idea. In this day a new approach is necessary. Sounds like there are some synical people out there!!!! Wonder if they would ever be smart enough to think of something like this. Obviously NOT.

Actually, this isn't a totally new concept. I was just given a book called "Finding Your Perfect Match" (long story, not as insulting of a gift as you this), and apparently it's associated w/ an online dating site called perfectmatch.com. There are personality traits were they feel similarities are matched, and other traits were opposites are better matches.

@Das...at least I'm smart enough to know how to spell "cynical" correctly!! and that is EXACTLY my point, I would not want to waste my time looking for my "opposite" who can't even spell simple 5th grade words. Dumb idea.

WOW ! I think this is a great idea! I have tried many dating sites and from the essays you think that's you;d get along well with your choice....but...ick! Help, where's the emergency exit!!! LOL

I can't waitto have this start up and be one of the 1st to try it out.

Good idea, now for the test coming soon...

Best Wishes!
greyci

There are so many dating sites out there and they all have the same concept, and maybe that doesnt work for everyone. This sounds like a great new option worth trying!

Hi Larry,
So when your site really takes off (I'm confident it will)
get in touch with me about working for you!

So if you go to you site and put in your info it tells you someone will contact you , but no one does, what is up with that ?

First I want to thank EVERYONE for the very nice comments and words of encouragement!!

And "C", I want to tell you that the issue you bring up was the subject of a meeting just today! We are getting a letter out soon to all who have pre-registered.

What we've been doing in the meantime is constantly updating people with our Facebook page, and via Twitter. So look for us in either of those places.

We've got some big announcements and cool surprises coming up soon, so stay tuned!

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