Whoever said “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” certainly seems to have gotten it right. People from different cultures and backgrounds have always had their own standards and ideals of what makes someone beautiful. But whether or not we will ever agree enough to come up with one universal definition of beauty, psychologists and scholars alike have certainly tried to quantify and understand the nature of attractiveness.
More than just a matter of physical appearances, attractiveness is defined as “a perceived, multi-modal construct of how appealing a person is as a potential romantic partner based on both visual and nonvisual cues” (Currie & Little, 2009). So, what exactly makes someone attractive? Well, according to research, here are some of the most attractive traits a person can have:
1. Emotional Sensitivity
First and foremost, let’s start by talking about all the qualities women find most attractive in a man before moving on to vice versa. And at the very top of that list (you might be surprised to learn) is emotional sensitivity. Girls love it when guys are in touch with their emotions and secure enough in their masculinity to admit it. But sadly, most men make the mistake of believing that they have to show off how tough they are and act indifferent towards a woman to make her interested, when the truth is they should’ve been doing the opposite instead! If you show a girl your sensitive side and let her in emotionally, then it’s easier for her to connect with you and feel closer to you, which is something a lot of girls look for in potential romantic partners (Rodeheffer & Hill, 2016).
2. Good Manners
Ever heard the saying “Manners are what make a man”? Well, women certainly seem to think so. Ask any woman you know how to impress a girl on a first date, and they’ll usually tell you that being a gentleman will do the trick. That means opening doors for her, pulling out chairs, offering to pay, never forgetting to say thank you, and so on. Why? Because when a man has good manners, it means he is respectful, considerate, and most of all, kind — all qualities that make for a good boyfriend or husband. And hey, some flowers and chocolates could go a long way in helping a man charm the woman he’s interested in.
Finally, but perhaps more importantly, women find men who display drive and determination so much more appealing than those who aren’t. Whether it’s in their career or their passion (like music or sports, for example), it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is: women are naturally drawn to men with passion, discipline, and ambition (Sprecher, Sullivan & Hatfield, 2014). Nothing is more attractive to them than a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. They set goals for themselves; they work hard; they take risks; and they are driven to succeed.
4. Sense of Humor
Now, let’s move on to the qualities and traits men find most attractive in a woman. First and foremost is a good sense of humor. Most men love to laugh and joke around a lot, so it should come as no surprise that they’d want someone who feels the same. A woman who not only laughs at their jokes but knows how to play along and crack him up with a few of her own as well. Having a good sense of humor shows that a woman is clever and sharp-witted, and it makes for more fun and interesting conversations as well. After all, who wants to date a boring stick in the mud who doesn’t know how to lighten up?
Next is confidence. The reason why men are so attracted to confident.women is simple: because they like being around people who are happy to be themselves! They don’t want to deal with the drama of constantly having to re-affirm their partner’s self-esteem or reassuring her time and time again that there’s nothing for her to be jealous about with other girls. No, they’d rather date someone comfortable in their own skin, someone who knows what they’re worth and doesn’t need a man to tell her! Confidence is attractive because it makes a woman seem more bold, more elegant, and more captivating (Regan, et al., 2000).
Last but certainly not the least is intelligence. Men value intelligence in a woman because it means that there is more to them than meets the eye, and that their looks aren’t the only thing that gives them substance. To them, a woman with intelligence is a woman with class, culture, and maturity. Men are impressed by women who can challenge them mentally and pique their curiosity, and the same can be said for women as well (Stewart, Stinnett & Rosenfeld, 2010). Bottom line is: intelligence is attractive no matter what your gender.
So, do you agree with what psychologists believe to be the most desirable qualities in a romantic partner? What traits do you find attractive in a person? If you liked this article and would like to learn more, be sure to read these next: 7 Signs People Secretly Find You Attractive, 6 Signs You Have an Attractive Personality, 10 Psychological Facts About Attraction, and 10 Surprising Habits Which Make You More Attractive.
- Currie, T. E., and Little, A. C. (2009). The relative importance of the face and body in judgments of human physical attractiveness. Evol. Hum. Behav. 30, 409–416. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.06.005
- Rodeheffer, C. D. & Hill, S. E. (2016). Attractive female romantic partners provide a proxy for unobservable male qualities: The when and why behind human female mate choice copying. Evolutionary Psychology, 14(2), 1474704916652144.
- Sprecher, S., Sullivan, Q., & Hatfield, E. (2014). Mate selection preferences: gender differences examined in a national sample. Journal of personality and social psychology, 66(6), 1074.
- Regan, P. C., Levin, L., Sprecher, S., Christopher, F. S., & Gate, R. (2000). Partner preferences: What characteristics do men and women desire in their short-term sexual and long-term romantic partners?. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 12(3), 1-21.
- Stewart, S., Stinnett, H., & Rosenfeld, L. B. (2010). Sex differences in desired characteristics of short-term and long-term relationship partners. Journal of social and personal relationships, 17(6), 843-853.