And why they’re the wrong ones …   

Television isn’t real life.  

Everyone knows this, but it can be tempting to base relationship aspirations and partner potential on what’s seen on TV.  

Real life is full of people, not actors.    

Holding Hollywood expectations for real people can cause regret and frustration.  

On this podcast episode, Jay Shetty helps readers navigate attraction and how to handle it in a healthy way. As he unpacks the 5 types of people we’re attracted to, he asks the important questions:

  • What does our attraction to a certain type of person say about us? 
  • What gap or void are we trying to fill by pursuing a relationship with this type of person? 
  • Is a certain type of person long-term relationship potential? 

Bad Boy/Bad Girl

When you hear the term “Bad Boy” or “Bad Girl”, are you envisioning the stereotypical person in a leather jacket leaned against a brick wall as they take a drag of a cigarette? 

There is a rush that comes when attracted to a rebel, leather and motorcycle present or not.  Adventure and unpredictability can be an attractive distraction from the ho-hum of normal life. 

Plus the Bad Boy/Bad Girl oozes confidence and charisma. No matter how hard life is, they don’t seem to be shaken by it.  

But Jay Shetty emphasizes that a good relationship is about more than just attraction. 

If a person is honest with themselves, their ideals and standards go deeper than that instant spark. Often, the Bad Boy/Bad Girl doesn’t possess character qualities that are important for the long haul.  

The Child

Everyone loves a good project, but trying to parent a partner is not a successful scenario for a healthy relationship says Jay Shetty. The Child is someone who constantly seeks attention and relies on their partner for support or to deal with their problems. 

Initially, it can feel good to help solve someone’s problems. Supporting each other is part of any healthy relationship. When someone takes on the role of the Child, however, the other person ends up being a caretaker, and that gets old fast.  

“You don’t want to end up with someone where you become the nurturer and the nourisher when that's not really what you're looking for.” Jay Shetty warns, “You're looking for something a little more complementary, so beware of the Child.” 

A relationship with a Child puts you in a position of care or authority. Oftentimes, the Child goes seeking that in their lives because their parents did not do a great job. It’s tempting to try to make up for it by stepping into that parenting role, but resist! 

Attraction to the position and not the person is not a healthy foundation for a long term relationship.  

The Reflection

Who can resist looking in the mirror as they walk past one? It’s easy to fall into the trap of being attracted to someone very much like yourself. The strengths within look equally good on someone else, but it’s a fine line to walk.

“It's very attractive and it's complementary to your ego because your ego feels great that you found someone,” Jay Shetty explains. “Later on you start recognizing that person has a lot of the same challenges, insecurities and issues as you do, and therefore it becomes really, really difficult.”  

While dating someone similar might seem comforting or empowering, wrestling with the same issues can be a significant hurdle to get over in the long run.

The Parent 

Just as being with a Child fills a gap, being with a Parent does the same. For those who may lack confidence and self – esteem, their relationship with their parents may have lacked safety or nurturing. Being with someone who is like a Parent helps them feel nurtured or safe. 

“You're either trying to find them as a familiar to your parents or you're trying to get them to become the parent that you never had,” said Jay Shetty. “So if your parents weren't able to do something for you, you're hoping your partner is going to do it for you.” 

Safety in a relationship is important, but coddling is excessive. A person who is parented by a partner will begin to expect them to meet needs that the person should be addressing themselves. 

This is not a healthy long term solution for either party. The person doing the parenting will get tired of coddling and trying to change the other.  The person being parented will grow weary of not being loved for who they are, or disappointed that the parent can’t meet all of their needs. 

Either way, it is not an honest and authentic relationship that is growing healthy individuals. 

The Partner

“He is my better half.” 

“She completes me.” 

Phrases like this are thrown around all the time. They automatically stir up good feelings or aspirations, right? This is not a true Partner relationship. 

 Jay Shetty counters that a healthy relationship is made up of two people who are whole and healthy in themselves who look for someone to complement them, not complete them. A Partner relationship involves listening and respect. It brings out the best in the other person and encourages them to grow. 

Sometimes the Partner relationship shows up where it is least expected. 

“Sometimes the Partner, when we first meet them is the least attractive one because we're not sure, said Jay Shetty. “We're not convinced. We may not be convinced by their charisma or their confidence because we're not seeing them as fulfilling a gap in our lives because we have to now think differently.” 

The Partner does not come with a rush of adrenaline like the Bad Boy/Bad Girl. 

There is no one to care for like with the Child. 

The Partner isn’t necessarily just like you like the Reflection type of person.  

Unlike the Parent, the Partner encourages growth and freedom. 

Getting Back to the Basics

Attraction is a two way street says Jay Shetty. To foster a healthy relationship, one must also be aware of the type of person they are attracting. 

When it all comes down to it, the most important relationship to work on is the one you have with yourself. Discovering values, standards, and characteristics that are prized in others is crucial, but first you need to value yourself. Without acknowledging your own self-worth, good intentions will always fall short. Focus on being true to yourself before looking for another person to complement you.  

 “We've got to realize again that so much of this is coming back to us growing our self-worth,” said Jay Shetty. “So much of this is going back to us developing ourselves, healing ourselves, loving ourselves like the way we wish we were loved.”

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on the 5 Types of People We’re Attracted To And Why They’re The Wrong Ones now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out his website at jayshetty.me.