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Science says this is the No. 1 trait that makes men attractive to others

Studies point to what makes a man attractive, and it's not the quality you think

We all have different tastes, but what makes a man attractive to most people? Is it rock-hard abs? Financial security? A sense of humor? While those qualities certainly don’t hurt, the most alluring thing about a person isn’t any of those. According to recent research, the number one most attractive trait people look for in a partner – is kindness! Shocked? Well, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t be.

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Compassion is king

The most attractive men all share one essential trait that contributes to their appeal – they are all compassionate people. Don’t believe it? There have been a number of studies and surveys completed over the years that confirm this.

These studies indicate people generally rate others as more desirable when they personify compassionate traits like altruism, empathy, supportiveness, and mindfulness. Basically, kindness is hot.

The studies speak the truth

One 2013 study found being selfless increased the desirability of both men and women as long-term partners. Even for short-term flings, altruism increased men’s attractiveness—though to a lesser extent than when those same men were considered as long-term partners. Another study found that people are often attracted to others whom they perceive as supportive, loving, and secure.

Recent research confirms kindness is a top priority for those looking for a long-term partner. In a study published in the Journal of Personality, researchers asked more than 2,700 college students from around the world to build their ideal lifelong partner by using a fixed budget to “buy” characteristics.

Participants were given eight different traits they could spend their budget on, including physical attractiveness, kindness, creativity, and you get the idea. The students spent around a quarter of their budgets (22-26%) on kindness.

In a 2019 survey, done in collaboration with the Ideal Partner Survey, sought to find out what women really look for in a partner. Sixty-four thousand women of different ages, sexual orientations, and home countries participated in the survey.

Despite their different backgrounds, 88.9% of women agreed that kindness was a top-tier trait in a long-term mate. Other essential qualities included supportiveness, intelligence, education, and confidence.

Woman leaning her head on a man's shoulder
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Why kindness over being attractive or fit?

Kindness, compassion, and empathy are essential to forming deep connections with other people. In fact, this trait was key to our survival as a species. Humans’ ability to form long-term social bonds contributed greatly to our evolution and success as a group. We’re hardwired to be drawn to compassionate people. It’s all in the science.

All anybody wants is to be loved, understood, and surrounded by those who make them feel safe. It shouldn’t be surprising these are the qualities people look for most in a partner. And yet, with our society’s obsession with appearance and wealth, it seems a revolutionary concept that kindness is so powerful.

Contrary to popular belief, nice guys do finish first—at least in matters of the heart. It’s officially backed by science – an attractive man is a compassionate man. So, the next time you’re crafting your Tinder bio, drop the bad boy routine and focus on what makes you a kind and caring person.

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Shannon Cooper
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
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