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Of course, while it is one thing to know where to look for someone on your wavelength, knowing exactly what it is they after is notoriously difficult. In fact, it is a question that has puzzled poets, flummoxed Freud, and muddled Mel Gibson. What do women want in a man (and vice versa)? What are the most desirable personality traits? Although pop culture cliché would suggest that this query will remain forever unsolved, the answer is actually far more simple than you might think.
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Study reveals the most attractive personality traits
A 2007 Richard Lippa study (based on the results of a BBC online survey), found that what women want in a man is really not all that different from what men want in a woman. The study, which involved 200,000 people from 53 countries, came to this conclusion by ranking people’s personality preferences and then comparing them.1 Participants were asked to think about the gender that most attracted them, then to choose and rank that gender’s top three attractive personality traits (from twenty-three given options.) The traits were then organised by popularity – the more participants put each trait in their top three, the higher they ranked.
What may be surprising to some is that traits thought to be traditionally popular with women seeking men, such as ‘social status’ and ‘wealth’ did not even rank in the top ten of that group’s picks. They were, in fact, very near the bottom of the heap. The most favoured personality traits were instead humour, intelligence, and honesty (in that order).2