Singles, Take Note: This Is the Trait Most Sought After in Dating

Consider this before you swipe right.

When you contemplate on what you’re looking for in a significant other, many desirable traits spring to mind: attractiveness, intelligence, sense of humor. But if you had to filter it down to a singular characteristic, what would you prioritize?

In this instance, the people have spoken. EliteSingles wanted to know just how much factors into finding love, and surveyed 400,000 singles in order to find out. Their results? Kindness was the most valuable and most sought after trait in searching for a long-term partner.

A whopping 82% of women and 70% of men rated kindness as extremely important in finding a long-term partner, even trumping expected winners like sexual attraction, emotional connection, and moral values. (Here are 8 other ways to meet and attract new people.)

Singles-Take-Note--This-Is-The-Trait-Most-Sought-After-In-DatingPavel Yavnik/shutterstock

As can be expected, kindness wasn’t the only thing people sought in relationship-hunting. For women, emotional connection and moral values succeeded kindness in importance for a romantic relationship while men rated sexual compatibility and emotional connection for what they desired next.

This doesn’t go to say that love is entirely blind, but it could be so for the early stages of infatuation; further studies have indicated that looks matter more in the first seven years of a relationship than in later years. Paying attention to one’s physical appearance may ensure that a relationship gets off to a good start, but manifesting a kind persona will guarantee it remains there.

Dating isn’t the only dimension where kindness is applicable though; if you thought love hurts, turns out that it’s actually the opposite in terms of your physical health. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation reports, “Acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.” 

Although there may be a lot of spite and ill intentions lingering in the sphere of online dating, it comes as a comfort to see that people still champion intrinsic beauty over external qualities. While factors like attractiveness and athleticism are initially alluring, long-term relationships mandate a deeper character. Relationship-seekers beware: these signs mean that your partner sees you as just a fling.

So if you’re single and searching for the secret to snagging a longstanding companion, stop obsessing over the mirror and start reflecting acts of kindness instead—it’s statistically recommended! (Here are some of our most inspiring stories of kindness).

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Hana Hong
Hana Hong is a journalist/storyteller who writes for Reader's Digest, InStyle, CollegeFashionista, Her Campus, and The Fashion Network, among other publications. She hails from the midwest, where she graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in News-Editorial Journalism, but has a passion for the East Coast.