NLP FAQ's / Help Center
What is Match and Mismatch in NLP Metaprograms?
Attention is focused on what is the same or what is different.
Whether a person notices commonality, like-ness and similarities or differences, dislikes and contrasts depends upon this Meta Program. This sort also effectively determines how much a person will agree or disagree with you throughout a conversation.
A person with more of a matcher sort is often optimistic, very approving, and tends to look for similarities and common ground while conversing with others. They, therefore, base their decisions on the similarities they see in others, in circumstances, and in life. Therefore in order to influence, motivate and build rapport with this person you will need to listen intently and find common ground. Mirroring their experiences, beliefs, values, and perceptions will help you to develop a strong emotional bond and greater levels of rapport.
Matching is important for rapport and relationship building, since connecting with someone, or meeting them in their world view in order to better communicate, involves perceiving and communicating in 'like' ways. The concept of like, or match, is built into our language even to the point where, if we want to express an affinity we have with another person, we say we 'like' them. If we have negative feelings about someone, we say we dislike them. Matching is also important in seeing connections or associations between sets of ideas, motifs, themes and a broad range of integrative processes both within and across different fields of study and endeavor.
Matching becomes a problem when it is overused or used without choice. In relationships, over-matching can lead a person to forget their own boundaries and unique sense of self. They may become more compliant or accommodating than is good for either them, their partner, or the relationship as a whole. By matching too exclusively early in a relationship, a person may not discover how the other person will behave when differences emerge later in the relationship after commitments have already been made. Since adults with full access to both matching and mismatching capabilities realistically expect that no two people are exactly the same, they may view someone who matches too consistently as either lacking in character or having a hidden agenda.
In other contexts, the overuse of matching can result in the failure to recognize important new information, essential differences which might strongly indicate a different course of action, or failure to appreciate the unique gifts and qualities in any person, team or situation.
A person with more of a mismatcher sort often tends to go against the grain. They tend to find faults in things, in circumstances, and in others. They always look for differences and will tend to disagree with you no matter what you do or say. Therefore, in order to influence, motivate and build rapport with this person you will need to become proficient at using reverse psychology.
Mismatching is essential to sorting, itself. If I can't tell any difference between two or more things, they are effectively the same to me and I have no basis on which to sort them from each other.
Our brains and nervous systems are designed to notice difference. Something that is no longer different enough to warrant notice needn't be brought to conscious attention. 'Different' gets our attention, and our awareness of it is important to our survival. Mismatching is also important in discriminating the desirable, sensible or functional from their opposites.
Mismatching, when overused, can obstruct productive relationships, contaminate cooperation, reduce available choices, ignore important connections, segregate whole class groups of people, and generally cause strife and conflict. At its extreme, especially when combined with disassociation, it can lead to violence on a scale from interpersonal to international or intercultural.
Both "Matching" and "Mismatching" Meta Programs are essential and valuable in balance and given appropriate choice and context.