Home PsychologyThe Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
PsychologyBy Joe Burgett -

When people are asked about what attracts them to others, you’d imagine they’d say a body part. We all know physical attraction is important to people, even if they do not claim it. Yet most people do not rank this as a top priority. Rather, they will often put other traits on their “wish list” for a possible partner. The most attractive human traits have to do with things other than looks. Again, while good looks might be important, to most, it is not THE most important thing. Sometimes, just avoiding toxic people can be enough. Yet it is much more than that.

Some might assume specific attractive traits are more common in same-sex relationships, yet it’s actually just as common in heterosexual relationships too. This means the results are pretty much the same whether you’re straight, gay, or bisexual. Everyone wants to see specific traits, such as many of the ones we’ll be referencing below. In fact, you could say that many would want to see someone with ALL of these traits. That said, let’s dive into the most attractive human traits, according to scientific research.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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You’d be surprised, but pretty much everyone wants to have a partner that is kind. Of course, kindness does not technically mean the person has to be a doormat for others. It is wrong to mistake kindness for weakness, they say. However, the reason is one of the most attractive human traits is simply because it’s hard to fake all the time. People can eventually see through faked kindness. Pure kindness is something that everyone seems to desire. The data is clear, and overwhelmingly one of the top things people want regardless of age.

In fact, a study was done by the Journal of Personality that involved 2,700 college students from all over the world. They were given a “build-your-own-partner” survey. The key for this study was that they made it about credits, where 8 traits could be picked but they only had a limited amount of credits to use. They could pick between kindness, physical attractiveness, good financial prospects, humor, charity, religiosity, desire for children, and creativity. Across the board, students used most of the credits in kindness, 22 to 26% in total. Beating out even physical attractiveness.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Great Independence

Being independent is really attractive to both men and women. However, men tend to find it to be most attractive among women due to the long history of women often needing to rely on men. This was mostly due to sexist idiocy where men felt they should control women, with most being treated as property. That is why to this day, at weddings, the father “gives” his daughter away to the man she marries. This is seen as a shifting of property technically. Thankfully, in the late 1900s into the 2000s, women were able to see better treatment.

While not completely equal yet, it is as close to it as we’ve ever been in developed nations. Today, men love seeing women that are independent and do not technically “need” a man. They can be happy without one, so you know they’ll want you around. You can also trust them to do anything, never assuming they cannot handle it. On top of this, you do not always need to be around each other – it is good to have your own thing. Independent people can easily do this, thus removing a “smothering” issue. In same-sex relationships, this is just as highly valued for men and women too.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Openness To Try New Things

Both men and women want their partners to be willing to come out of their shells sometimes to try something new. Of course, this openness to try new things could differ wildly depending on what is asked. For example, many men are open to trying new things in the bedroom but might not be as open to doing something dangerous. Yet evidence proves people are open to dating someone that is different from them. This differs a bit when it comes to specific political beliefs.

Pew Research found that while those they studied might not date someone who voted for Donald Trump in the Presidential election, they would date someone who is in debt or makes dramatically more than them. 85% said they’d date someone of a different race and 77% said they’d date someone with a different religion. Therefore, we likely are open to dating people from sectors new to us. However, the openness to try something new seems to always be a case-by-case thing. Yet when it comes to those they’d date, people seem to be very open to someone completely unlike themselves.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Your parents or grandparents may have told you in the past that “patience is a virtue.” This is technically true, which makes a patient person a potentially virtuous one. Some of the most prominent philosophers in history speak to how patience is a very important thing, though it might be difficult. Aristotle once said that patience is a bitter thing, but the fruit of it is sweet. This means that waiting for something might be hard, but your willingness to do so will reap great rewards. This has been kind of important to the dating scene during the recent COVID Pandemic.

A lot of dating for people might have taken place online or by phone. This meant that a lot of the connection with someone was voice and image only, never physical. This can be quite difficult to manage. However, those who connected in this way have been able to put some of the most attractive human traits they have out there. If they were still talking with that person after a while, it made their physical meet-up even better. By removing the physical side at first, it was ALL down to who you are as a person. The patience for physicality was present throughout, and the fruit from this was likely pretty sweet.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Being Self-Aware

We all have problems, some of which we do not care to admit. Yet that does not mean the problems do not exist. Just because we do not “want” to talk about our faults often does not mean we cannot have a laugh at them. Of course, there is a difference between lightly playing with someone about how they are and bullying them. This is important to consider. However, we need to be self-aware so that we can see our faults and try to fix them as best we can.

Moreover, we need to be able to laugh at them too. Both men and women alike seem to like when their partner is self-aware, as it creates a level of humility in them. You need to be capable of seeing the good in yourself so you can properly use your skills to provide for yourself and your family. At the same time, having the humility to say you cannot do something well or do not know something is important too. On top of this, if there are faults you have in relationships, then those need to be openly known by your partner as well as yourself. We should never forget that.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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There is a fine line here that men more than women tend to misunderstand. If you ask most women, they want a partner who is sensitive enough to care about others. Yet men when polled tend to want a partner that is sensitive to similar things. Both want their partner to be sensitive because when you are, you’ll likely notice the little things your partner shows. Are they happy? Sad? You will know because your sensitivity forces you to notice the small details about them.

Some sensitive people can even tell when their partner acts differently while texting. Highly sensitive people may struggle with anxiety in relationships, constantly worrying if they are doing everything right. They may think a small change in their partner is them preparing to leave. It could just be that they did not feel well that day. It can get bad, so people seem to want someone who is sensitive but not HIGHLY sensitive. Somewhere in-between is best, which makes a lot of sense.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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It may seem like we are setting up the obvious “no one likes cheaters” concept. While it is true that a loyal person is unlikely to cheat on their partner, loyalty comes in many forms. The reason this is one of the most attractive human traits is simply for what all “loyalty” represents. If you are loyal, you are likely to want to do everything you can to make something work. It can almost be a fault sometimes.

Men and women both like loyal partners because they might assume their partner can do so much better than them, yet they refuse to consider another. They will do all they can to make the relationship work. They will stick around through the good as well as the bad, refusing to let the bad times affect their loyalty. Partners like this are truly not as common as one might hope, making it a very desirable trait people want to see in a partner.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Goofy/Fun Personality

It is truly not uncommon to find someone who is capable of being goofy or fun. Yet this type of stuff seems to be purely connected to what you, personally, believe is “fun” or “goofy.” Thus, this is not exactly a blanket thing that is similar for everyone. You might even see certain couples laughing about the dumbest things. It is not due to love for their partner but rather just knowing what makes them laugh.

That, in the end, is what we’d say is most important. The fun or goofy personality needs to work with what a specific person needs. This will differ wildly among couples, but everyone loves a person that is fun. When they come around, you’re immediately happy around them. They might make you laugh, but they also might come up with fun activities or ideas. As you can easily see, there is a good reason this is one of the most attractive human traits.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Financially Responsible

Some might see this and think we’re saying you need to have a lot of money. Rather, we’re saying that you need to be responsible with money. As in, you’re not willing to go out gambling all your money away or spending it on booze. You are not going to clubs to throw money around or overspending on beauty products and clothes. Sure, you can do some of these things, just not all the time. There are even articles dedicated to helping irresponsible boyfriends/girlfriends or spouses.

Financially responsible people know this and actively work to make sure they do not live in excess. This is why it is one of the most attractive human traits. Men love to see financially responsible partners, and women love to see the same. It is universally accepted and some make it a “must-have” for any partner. In all honesty, this should be the case. Even if you’re a wealthy person, you do not want your partner going out spending a ton of money all the time.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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It is easy to see a word like “passion” and assume we mean something sexual by this term. However, that is not really true in this case. Passion is often confused for being connected to the sexual world, but that world actually took it from the original terminology. When you see the word “passionate,” you might think of this being used to describe someone who loves something. Like how football players are passionate about football or gamers are passionate about video games.

Statistically, both men and women love to see a potential partner have a passion for something. Of course, they might overspend for it or the passion might be terrible, so it is not always good to see. Yet the overall aspect of it, people want to see. The reason for this might be because it proves they can show or have a love for something. Therefore, you could step in and potentially see some of their passionate nature used on you if they come to love you. That would then turn into the notable “romantic passion.”

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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It cannot be expressed just how important a reliable partner can be. If you’re irresponsible, that brings down pretty much everything as your partner cannot rely on you to do anything. That can make life much harder, as your partner might feel they are essentially alone in life. That is in spite of literally sleeping next to someone who claims to love you. This can also navigate into the overall family. You cannot be relied on to pick the kids up, go to recitals, games, performances, or anything else.

Sometimes, people do not keep their word or are not as reliable due to extreme schedule demands. Yet outside of this, they are great. Others aren’t reliable because they are just disorganized, selfish, lack empathy, etc. Thus, they are the type of person people struggle to stay with. Reliable partners are beloved by both men and women, yet women seem to rank it higher on their list. That might be due to the higher rate of irresponsible men.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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This might seem like an odd one, but it is true that approachability is important. What does it mean? You want people to respect you and see you as friendly and helpful. Yet some people give off a vibe that says “do not speak to me.” This differs from the hot girl that men are afraid to talk to simply because she’s so beautiful. Rather, it has to do with the impression you give off to others.

Sometimes, people feel unsafe around their unapproachable partners or they are scared to talk to them about possible problems. Plus, potential partners might not even come up to talk to you, as you might seem hard to talk to. Unapproachable people tend to have a constant “frown or angry face.” You might not mean to show that, but it is how you come off. They might also seem to be impatient or bothered by everything and/or everyone around them. Approachability is certainly is one of the most attractive human traits so look out for those issues.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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The Ability To Handle Being Single

To some, this might come off as simply being independent. However, that is not exactly true. You can be an independent person yet struggle to be single. Why? Some people feel unfulfilled when they are not in a relationship or have someone on the side that they can call on at any time. They cannot handle the single life, so if anything goes wrong in your relationship with them then they are already prepared to get into something else.

Some need to have a constant person in their life to talk to or be around, potentially to even be intimate with. What if their partner was in the Army and stationed overseas? What if they needed to travel a lot for work? This person is bound to cheat on their partner because they cannot handle that single life. Those that are fine being single do not “need” someone in their life, as they are fine alone. Yet when they do bring someone in, they “want” them there. It is better to be wanted than needed.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Good Manners

Have you ever gone out on a dinner or lunch date with someone? If so, you have likely seen how they are not only to the wait staff but how they eat too. Messy eaters are not that uncommon but it can be a turn-off for some. Moreover, trying to talk with your mouth full or talk through a burp – it’s just sickening. Some people can get past all of this, however. Perhaps, they are able to do so because they do the same stuff. Yet some are just not that affected by it.

However, statistics show that watching a date be rude to a waiter or waitress is usually hated by most. Those that are nice to the wait staff, even if things are going wrong, are showing true goodness. These people will likely also be nice or good to your family members, even the wacky conspiracy theorists. This is very important, which is why many find good manners to be one of the most attractive human traits to see in someone. Just saying please and thank you properly alone can do wonders.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Realistic Optimism

If you have ever been around a very optimistic person, they might make you feel like you can do anything. Trust us when we say, no, you cannot do anything. Yet the big-time optimist refuses to accept that for themselves or anyone else. While that is nice sometimes, it can be a lot to deal with someone eternally optimistic about everything. This is why we’re referencing “realistic optimism.”

It combines the idea of being a realist, as in, the belief in the most likely outcome of something (regardless of the good or bad). Along with being an optimist, or believing in something positively only. By having the combo, the person is not ignoring the reality of a situation but they are also going to be supportive and encouraging. They are giving you both sides, which is better than just one or the other. Thus, why realistic optimism is considered one of the most attractive human traits.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Being able to trust a partner is incredibly important. While it does mean, in some ways, you can rely on them, it’s also trusting that they will do as you need. If you need them to pick the kids up from band practice, you know they’ll do it. You have that trust in them to do so. Yet trusting your partner is crucial in other areas too. Like trusting them to be around attractive people and knowing they will not consider cheating on you with one of them.

This is hard for many to trust, even if their partner has never done this with anyone. Yet to have that trust means you will never worry about such an issue. Knowing you can trust them means you can trust that they will be able to handle any task to help you, which can be important to any relationship. In polls, men and women both have claimed trustworthiness is important to them. This means it is clearly one of the most attractive human traits that a person could possess.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Balanced Extroversion

This might be a weird one for some people, but it is truly ideal. In psychology, we identify people as introverts or extroverts. An introverted person is often quiet and to themselves, usually seen as shy. Extroverts are the complete opposite, as they are an outgoing person that is overly expressive. Yet there are people called introverted extroverts or extroverted introverts too. Yet when we mention “balanced extroversion,” we frame it in how one is depending on the situation.

For example, if you are inviting people over for a dinner party or you’re having to go to Galla that your spouse’s boss is throwing. You want to be extroverted in these situations so that you come off fun and inviting, which only makes you and your spouse look good. But you can then turn this over-the-top personality off when you go home. Especially turn it off when you’re sitting around watching Netflix together. This balance is very useful, which is why so many believe it is one of the most attractive human traits you can possess.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Being Respectful, Especially To Elders

Being respectful is incredibly important. While we’re not saying you need to have a military-style version of respect, you should always try to address people as “Mr.” or “Miss, Ms., or Mrs.” The latter might differ somewhat depending on your culture among women. This could be done with those under 18, but it is not required. Saying “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am” is important too. This could fall somewhat under manners but we feel this really connects more to respect. Yet both men and women need to always be respectful to elders, at least as much as possible.

Yes, there will be times that this is simply impossible to do. If someone pushes you a lot, then you have the right to respond in kind so they do not feel they can run all over you. They too must practice respect, and it is only being respectful to set them straight. Both sexes often find this to be one of the most attractive human traits. You are treating people with care normally, and respecting them from the start just because they are human. It cannot be expressed enough how important that is to do. Lest we forget, you want them to respect you and that means always trying to make sure you’re taken care of.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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The Pitch Of Your Voice

Looks do matter for many, but we’ve ignored that for this post. Yet we never claimed we would not reference voices. The cool part is that you could be the ugliest person to walk the Earth but have a sexy voice. That suddenly makes you more attractive to people. Referencing *just* straight people here for a second. Men tend to like women who have a higher-pitched voice, as it seems to indicate a smaller body size. We know, this is terrible, but that is why men like it. Yet let’s not allow women to act superior. They prefer a man with a deeper or lower-pitched voice because it seems to indicate a larger body size.

Men seem to find high-pitched, breathy voices with wide format spacing to be the most attractive. Women like the low-pitched, narrow format spacing. They too like breathiness but with narrow spacing because short spacing can indicate aggressiveness, something many women do not care for. Deeper voices also seem to indicate virility in men, but studies have shown sperm count was similar or lower compared to men without very deep voices. Nevertheless, your voice pitch can be one of the most attractive human traits, but don’t feel like you have to sound any specific way. Be yourself, always!

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Regardless of the sexual orientation, regardless of the sex or gender that you happen to be, even regardless of the age you are. It is proven that everyone loves to see confidence in a partner. Now let’s be honest here, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. You do not want to come off like a jack***, so the best thing to do is understand where your limitations are while highlighting your strengths. This will allow you to be confident without coming off as arrogant. Women dislike being around men with low self-esteem. This differs from humble men, of course.

Yet the same is present for men around women, as they like to see a woman who can pursue them sometimes. This is ESPECIALLY true in same-sex partnerships, as it takes confidence just to try to strike up a conversation. Plus, you have to find out their sexual orientation without being weird. Confidence displays self-assurance, and that can feel safe for people. Yet confident people also have more self-control and do not just go with the flow. They make their own decisions because they are confident in that decision-making process. All of this is why confidence is one of the most attractive human traits.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Being compassionate is truly a beautiful thing. Caring about your fellow human being is never a bad thing. While women like to see some form of compassion from men, it seems that men expect this out of women. It seems men assume this due to women often being the caretakers for children. In most older societies, the father serves a provider role while the woman serves the caretaker role. While this can still be the same today for some couples, it should not be expected entirely.

Those roles can be reversed at times too, which is completely fine. In same-sex relationships, the roles MUST sort of reverse or be equal if we want to connect the role one serves to the sex they are born as. Regardless, a compassionate man might differ from a compassionate woman. Yet all that truly matters is that compassion is present at all, as it truly is one of the most attractive human traits people want to see. Psychologists say that compassion is not just about caring for people, it’s also in the words one chooses to use too.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Good Listening Skills

You’ve likely seen the old television trope of a man not listening to his wife about her problems while she cares about all of his issues. This is not exactly accurate for most marriages. But the aspect of not fully listening to one’s spouse is kind of an issue that people can relate to. When we reference listening, we are not saying you have to remember everything they are saying to you. Like, if your wife tells you about a minor issue she ran into at work with her coworkers. This could be a boring story, but it is not about the entertainment value.

She is telling her partner about something that matters to her because she trusts that he’ll care. Yet if the partner feels there is an issue that continues to happen, they can help her solve it. They only knew to assist because they listened to so many of the same stories. Yet sometimes, it is not so much about “solving” a problem. Sometimes, she just wants to talk to you and this gives her a way to do that. Men do not do this as often, but when we do, we desperately need our partner to listen. As it might require help to solve a problem. This tends to be why good listening skill ranks as one of the most attractive human traits.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Scientifically speaking, intelligence is highly valued in multiple arenas. It is so highly sought after that universities, in spite of being institutions where one learns, force you to display your intelligence via a standardized test before accepting you to learn from them. Yet potential partners love to see intelligence because they feel this person can have a conversation with them about anything. They also feel that person will potentially provide well, and assist in any major familial need.

Some people even seem to only be attracted to intelligent people. This often falls under a sexual orientation of sorts called “sapiosexuality.”  This might make someone bisexual, but you can be straight or gay and only be attracted to intelligent people that fit the sex you have an interest in. There can be a fine line in just how smart a person wants their partner to be. Some find genius-level people to be too smart, causing them to fear dating those types of people. In spite of this, evidence proves intelligence is one of the most attractive human traits that people value in potential partners.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Positive Personality

While some people want to be with people with a generally positive personality, you do not necessarily need this to be attractive to people. It is just that people simply DO NOT want to be with someone that has a negative personality. Thus, you could have neither a positive nor negative personality and be okay. In spite of that, positive personalities are often beloved by people. This ranks very high in most surveys when people are asked what they would want in a dream partner.

Why is a positive personality one of the most attractive human traits? It is so highly desired that Planet Fitness did a survey that found 92% of people would want a person with a great personality than a great body. Yes, positive personalities are often linked to “great personalities.” This seems to be because generally positive people come off as easy to talk to, fun to be around, and willing to always encourage others. That can make someone almost addicting to be around.

The Most Attractive Human Traits, According To Science
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Sense Of Humor

Potentially ranked at the top of everyone’s wishlist is a partner with a sense of humor. How did this become one of the most attractive human traits? Heck, how did it become the top trait people look for? This honestly seems to come down to the fact that pretty much everyone loves to laugh. This might mean that the sense of humor your partner provides might not exactly mesh with everyone else’s sense of humor. Yet that does not matter, because YOU find them funny and entertaining.

Being around someone that can make you laugh can be addictive. Science has proven that laughter can decrease stress hormones yet can even help to increase some immune cells too. It enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, as well as stimulates the heart, lungs and muscles. Laughing can even decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, giving you a relaxing feeling that can also soothe pain problems. To be with someone who provides this often is clearly wonderful, as being around them might literally make you feel better.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Mayo Clinic

Cleveland Clinic

Pew Research Center

American Psychological Association

Journal of Personality

Planet Fitness

Live Science


Reader’s Digest


Psychology Today