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Science says this is the No. 1 trait to make you more attractive to others

What makes a man attractive (it's not just about looks)

What makes a man attractive? Is it rock-hard abs? Financial security? A sense of humor? While those qualities certainly don’t hurt, it turns out the most alluring thing about a person is a bit different. According to recent research, kindness is the number one most attractive trait people look for in a partner. Read on to learn more.

Compassion is the No. 1 most attractive trait

Man wearing a volunteer t-shirt

The most attractive men all share one essential trait that contributes to their appeal: being compassionate people. There have been a number of studies and surveys completed over the years that confirm this. They indicate that people generally rate others as more desirable when they personify compassionate traits like kindness, altruism, empathy, supportiveness, and mindfulness.

One 2013 study found that 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.

More recent research confirms that 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 more. The students spent around a quarter of their budgets (22-26%) on kindness.

Another 2019 survey, 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 this survey. Despite their different backgrounds, 88.9% of women agreed that kindness was a very important trait in a long-term mate. Other essential qualities included supportiveness, intelligence, education, and confidence.

Why is kindness so valued in a partner?

Woman leaning her head on a man's shoulder
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 seemingly hardwired to be drawn to compassionate people.

All anybody wants is to be loved, understood, and surrounded by those who make them feel this way. It shouldn’t be surprising that these are the qualities that 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. Attractive men and compassionate men are one and the same. So next time you’re crafting your Tinder bio, drop the bad boy routine and instead focus on what makes you a kind and caring person. You’ll thank us later.

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