What do you think is the number one thing women look for in a guy?
I asked my brother this question to get a male opinion, and he thought for a moment and said, “Someone who’s tall?”
That’s when I knew I had to write this article — for all you guys out there who might have really erroneous ideas about what women actually want.
Because if you’re anything like my brother, you might honestly think being tall is really important. Or having large biceps. Or being rich. Or, preferably, having a combination of all three.
And who can blame you? After all, that’s been the message Hollywood and social media have been sending for decades: if you’re not rich (or at least conventionally attractive), you’re not worth dating.
If that’s what you believe, I want you to know something important: Hollywood and social media have done a horrible job of understanding what women generally value most in relationships.
Now, I’m not denying that some women won’t give you the time of day unless you’re rich, jacked, and conventionally attractive.
But between you and me? I think you should avoid those kinds of women like the … well, like the plague, if you’ll forgive the term.
Why should you avoid those kinds of women, you ask? Because they’re not interested in you — they’re interested in themselves. They’re interested in having a trophy, not a relationship.
But back to the point.
If I had a dollar for every dating profile I’ve seen where the guy is clearly trying to give the impression that he’s tall, muscular, and owns a private island in the Caribbean, I could retire in comfort right now.
In all seriousness, though — from what I’ve seen, most men clearly don’t understand what women actually look for. And of course, that often leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion when dates don’t go well for no apparent reason.
Being a woman, it’s high time women talked about what we look for in relationships — as opposed to what men think we look for.
So what is it? What matters to us most? What’s the one thing that makes us think, “I can see a future with this guy” as opposed to “I can’t wait to never see him again”?
I won’t beat around the bush anymore.
According to a study conducted with over 60,000 women from all over the world, the number one thing that almost 90% of them ranked as the most important trait they wanted in a partner was kindness.
Almost 90% of the women surveyed — women from all backgrounds, nationalities, and walks of life — said they value kindness more than anything else.
Are you surprised? If you are, you might be even more surprised by this finding:
In the same study, almost 45% of the women said they prefer men with average or “dad bods” over extremely muscular men. In fact, only 2.5% of the women surveyed said they favor very muscular partners.
So what’s the takeaway? It’s this:
If you’re looking for a serious relationship, by all means, get ripped if you want to. But there’s no need to spend forty hours a day at the gym just to attract a partner — if this study is any indicator, it might actually work against you.
The findings of this survey shouldn’t be surprising
As a woman, I’m not surprised that other women also value kindness highly. Even though I’ve dated guys who were good-looking, I didn’t date them for their looks — I dated them for what I saw on the inside: kindness, generosity, empathy, etc.
Now, their looks were a nice addition, don’t get me wrong. But when life gets tough, the way someone looks on the outside becomes completely insignificant compared to the type of person they are on the inside.
For example, the day I got sick back in undergrad and couldn’t even drag myself to class, the last thing on my mind was whether or not my boyfriend had a chiseled jawline. Or whether he had bulging muscles. And, you guessed it — I didn’t care how much was in his Roth IRA, either.
Do you know what meant the world to me, though? The fact that he dropped everything and took care of me when I could barely take care of myself. The fact that he was always there for me is what made all the difference.
His kindness is what made all the difference.
Ultimately, that’s what really mattered to me. It mattered then and it matters now — to me, and to a considerable number of other people from all over the world.
Tens of thousands of women from just one study overwhelmingly rank kindness as the most important thing they look for in a guy — remember that when you don’t think you’re good-looking enough or out of someone’s league.
Here’s the truth:
Women like me are tired of dating people who are full of themselves and who think their looks are enough. We’re tired of the games and the empty promises of people who don’t mean what they say.
The reality is, looks fade no matter who you are. Even the best plastic surgeons and all the money in the world won’t be able to keep you looking twenty-five at eighty — just look at all the old, ridiculously rich Hollywood actors out there if you need a reminder.
So what can stay the same?
A person’s heart. The way they treat themselves, you, and the person who just cut into their lane when they’re already running late. That’s what actually matters.
If you’re a guy who’s trying to figure out what goes on inside our heads, let me make it easy for you:
Decent women — the type of women you should want to be with — aren’t interested in how many hours you spend at the gym or the size of your bank account.
Why? Because the kind of women you should want to date are self-sufficient adults. They don’t expect others to buy them drinks or baby them.
What they could use, though, is a partner who will be there for them when they need it — someone they can be vulnerable with. Someone who really, genuinely loves them for who they are. Someone they don’t have to put on a brave face for when they come home after a rough day.
That’s what decent women really want. Everything else — looks, money, etc. — will be secondary to the kind of person you should want to be with.
Ultimately, remember this: You don’t need abs or a fortune in the bank to attract a great partner. If you’re a kind, loving person, think of this study and remind yourself that there are plenty of women out there who are hoping and praying that one day, they’ll meet someone like you.
Don’t lower your standards or lose hope simply because you haven’t met a compatible person yet.
Luba Sigaud is a writer who has been featured in Illumination Curated, Medium, The Good Men Project, Plazm, and more. Follow her on Twitter.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.