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If we compute “e Harmony status” — how often a user is asked out by their matches — we find it also follows this pattern: Everyone prefers high-status users, but high-status users show a stronger preference for other high-status users.

(It’s possible that they don’t really feel a stronger preference, but merely feel more confident in their ability to win a fellow high-status mate.) On the other hand, traits whose optimal value is more arguable — like whether you have children or what religion you follow — tend to follow the first pattern.

Men follow the second pattern: All men prefer women who describe themselves as intelligent, but men who describe themselves as intelligent display a stronger preference.

These couples have actually met (and mated, though we don’t know if they’re still together), they’re sometimes answering questions about matters of life and death, and they have much less incentive to lie.

Here, too, my 23and Me colleague Aaron Kleinman and I found that birds of a feather flock together: For 97 percent of the traits we examined, couples were positively correlated.

(We also found some examples where opposites attracted: Morning people tended to pair with night owls, and people with a good sense of direction with those who lacked one.) There are at least three reasons we so often message and eventually mate with the similar.

Before we even meet, myriad forces guide us away from people who are different from us — work, schooling, e Harmony’s algorithm.

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For his complex but lovely discussion of the subject, see here.