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Opposites Attract

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Gazi, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Gazi

    Gazi Prismatic Knight

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    A common trope in shows, books, and even in real life I guess, is that opposites attract. I've recently watched a show where my favorite paring in it was definitely an 'opposites attract' situation, and I loved it. Sometimes though, the trope just doesn't work for me, and I wanted to figure out why I may sometimes love it, and why it feels forced and unnatural other times. So my question for you guys is, what makes an opposites attract situation work, and what makes it fall apart?

    For me, at least in shows and stuff, I don't like this trope when the characters themselves emphasize just how different they are from each other. If the characters do nothing but scold or nag each other for doing things in a different way, that's a problem for me. I'm not going to get behind a relationship where the characters do nothing but fight with each other.

    If an opposites attract story is going to work, then the characters involved need to accept the other person for who they are, and not try to change them. The characters can fight every once and awhile (it's inevitable in any relationship) but it can't be the focus of their relationship. The focus needs to be on what they have in common, not what's different about them.

    For example, the pairing I mentioned earlier that I really came to like was with an angel and a demon. Of course, one was more inclined to help humanity and see the good in everything, and the other was mischievous and liked to cause trouble. However, they both have a fondness for humanity, and for each other, and that was what their relationship focused on.

    (I mostly just wrote this post to have a little rant about two of my new favorite characters from a show, but I really do want to hear how you guys feel about the opposites attract thing).
     
  2. KnightBlader

    KnightBlader Prismatic Knight

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    Hmm, that's an interesting topic.
    I could think of three ways it can work:
    1) Natural chemistry. This is probably the hardest to define, but sometimes it just clicks, even if two characters represent completely different ideas, as those can be overcome, although in my opinion this needs at least initiative from one of the two.
    2) Fixing each others flaws. This seems logical, but it sometimes just doesn't take place. It is, at least sometimes, immensely unsatisfiying to have two people who share common flaws end up together, unless they actually help the relationship in some way or another.
    3) Interesting for the consumer. This is something that is more intrinsic to mythical characters, like you mentioned as an example (AngelxDemon). This is because they are polar opposite to an extreme extent, making the reader/viewer/player more interested in finding out about them, and just generally sparks curiousity in your characters.

    Now that doesn't mean those always work, there are a few reasons that I just list why imo, that trope falls flat, at least sometimes:
    -No initiative from either party
    -The ship isn't the one that you as reader think is "the best"
    -Lobsided portrayal/development in favor of one of the two
    -Not well enough written
     
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  3. Gazi

    Gazi Prismatic Knight

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    I think that people would have to be careful with any of the characters helping each other fix their flaws and grow as a character. I don't have a problem with anybody getting character development and becoming a better person, but I don't like it when the 'flaws' that the characters try to fix are just the things that make them different from the other. I'm fine with character growth, but I don't like the thought that characters think that something about their significant other needs to be 'fixed', like there's something inherently wrong with them.
    Like with the angel and demon situation. The demon becomes a better person because of the angel's influence on him, but he doesn't change because the angel won't like him if he doesn't. The demon changes because people change, not because the angel would only be around him if he was a good person. Growth is great, but not when it's forced.
     
  4. KnightBlader

    KnightBlader Prismatic Knight

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    That is not what that means, it's more an addendum to chemistry, think about one character that is short tempered and another being calm, these traits can help one another by for example either standing up for someone or holding them back if necessary.
     
  5. HiddenLore

    HiddenLore Prismatic Knight

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    Personally, I think that opposites can attract, but only if there is also some solid ground to build on. It can be easy to miss, but characters need some reason to meet and stay in contact. In reality, no couple could last if they disagreed about everything, or were too different, but having different personalities can work if they can find some middle ground to meet on.
     
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