BlogWhat Do We Find Attractive in the Opposite Sex

January 9, 2012by Frank Love1

Want to know why you are getting your dating results? Here is some insight that might surprise you. According to the current issue of Psychology Today, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that men and women are attracted to different qualities in potential mates. Of course, that’s not the surprising part (men being from Mars, and women being from Venus, and all). The surprising part is what we find appealing in the opposite sex.

This new research isn’t about whether you’re a boob or leg man, or whether you prefer beefy men to thin ones. It’s about first impressions and demeanors. Researchers showed participants photos of the opposite sex in which they were wearing expressions of happiness, pride and shame – emotions chosen because they reveal how we feel about ourselves – “which tends to be closely related to how we feel about others,” according to study author, Jessica Tracy.

The quality women find most attractive? Pride! Next comes shame (which apparently indicates an understanding of social norms and right vs. wrong). And last on the list – happiness. Yep, it’s a head-scratcher, but the findings from the data says there’s at least some truth to it. While pride or ego can certainly be healthy for a relationship, what’s wrong with happiness? Why would you want someone who is always depressed or sulking? I guess that’s why so many married men look unhappy. If they weren’t, their wives might not be attracted to them anymore.

So, guys, if you want to be attractive to the opposite sex, wipe that silly grin off your face, stick out your chest and act like a winner. Women prefer it in a potential mate. And in all seriousness, ladies, if you do tend to pair up with depressive men, consider giving happy guys a try. After all, life is short, but when you’re with a chronically-unhappy person, it can feel really long. I know; I’ve been there.

The tables turn dramatically when we start looking at what men prefer in women. At the top of the list is happiness. I would say there’s some truth to this (at least, for the one man I can truly speak for … myself). I have consistently believed that there are few things more beautiful on a woman than a smile (remember my blog about the lovely Yasmin?). A smile says “Hi, I am approachable.” And it puts the other person at ease.

Next on the list of qualities men find attractive is shame. Ladies, apparently shame can work for you better than pride, which was last on the list. Perhaps this is about the male interest in being a hero and saving a damsel in pain, or maybe it’s because a woman’s pride overshadows some men’s perceptions of themselves.

Well, folks, there you have it – our basic characteristics of attraction wrapped up in a few hundred words. Of course, this may not be true about you – at least not across the board. I actually like pride in a woman. I know I am not “normal” (in case you haven’t figured that out yet), but none of us are. Data like this makes for a fun read and certainly gives us something to think about, but at the end of the day, we are people, not statistics, and people want or like different things.

You can leverage this information in your partnership, but I am not sure how powerful it will make you. I say take a look at this info, consider whether it’s true for you (and if those preferences are serving you). Afterwards you can really address your strengths and weaknesses, and why you get the dating results that you get. And adjust (or don’t) as you see fit. That sounds Powerful to me.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

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One comment

  • Diane Tomkin

    January 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Interesting. Pride is a form of positive self esteem and shame indicates that we are human. Perhaps what we are really looking for is balance in our relationships.


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