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The 10 Best Ways to Attract a Partner

Individuals across the world use similar strategies to attract others.

Key points

  • Individuals tend to engage in similar strategies to attract partners.
  • Men and women favor slightly different strategies.
  • Future studies should look at the effectiveness of these strategies over time.

Why is it that some individuals attract partners more easily than others? It's a difficult and complicated question. Certainly, not everyone is looking for a partner, but for those who are out there attempting to navigate the dating scene, there clearly are some traits that are more desirable than others across gender lines. In an ambitious attempt to define effective strategies to become a more appealing partner, Apostolou et al. (2023) surveyed 7,181 individuals across 14 countries (Austria, Brazil, China, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Peru, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the U.K., and Ukraine). The study consisted of 4,616 women, 2,525 men, and 40 participants who did not specify their gender. The assumption in this study, of course, was that individuals engage in behaviors that they find attractive in others.

In an attempt to identify effective strategies to make one more appealing, each participant was asked to complete a survey that inquired to what extent they had used each of 87 behaviors to attract a potential partner. They rated each behavior on a 5-point scale: 1 (not at all) to 5 (extensively). These initial behaviors were then narrowed down to 10 factors or strategies, including the following:

1. Demonstrating Similarity

  • Showing interest in things that interested someone who I was attracted to.
  • Trying to find out what someone you are interested in likes.
  • Adopting hobbies and habits of the potential partner.
  • Pretending to have similar interests.
  • Getting informed about the subject matter of the work of the other person.
  • Laughing at their jokes.
  • Agreeing with their viewpoints.
  • Buying gifts.
  • Picking up the tab.
  • Changing the music you listen to.

2. Enhancing Looks

  • Taking care of skin.
  • Taking care of hair.
  • Taking care of cleanliness.
  • Using perfume.
  • Taking care of feet and hands.
  • Having fresh breath.
  • Wearing flattering clothing.
  • Smiling more.
  • Improving appearance.
  • Buying new clothing.
  • Hair removal such as waxing or laser removal.

3. Increasing Income and Social Status

  • Trying to increase income.
  • Trying to be financially independent.
  • Trying to advance one's career.
  • Trying to find a job with high social status.
  • Improving education.
  • Reading more books.
  • Showing interest in art/music/literature.

4. Drastic Appearance Changes

  • Having liposuction.
  • Having a hair transplant.
  • Having plastic surgery.
  • Getting a tattoo.
  • Buying a more costly car or motorcycle.
  • Getting a tattoo.
  • Taking supplements to improve one's body.
  • Getting a piercing.
  • Degrading others.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • Engaging in risky behavior (bungee jumping, etc.)
  • Doing volunteer work.
  • Not eating in front of the other.
  • Reading books on flirting and relationships.
  • Buying a more expensive cell phone.

5. Showing Off Abilities and Talents

  • Showing off abilities and skills.
  • Showing off talents.
  • Showing off knowledge.
  • Emphasizing strengths.
  • Talking about one's achievements.
  • Telling stories about what one has done.

6. Keeping Undesirable Things Hidden

  • Keeping a psychological problem hidden.
  • Keeping something bad from the past hidden.
  • Hiding a health problem.
  • Hiding things that others may not like.

7. Doing More Physical Exercise and Sports

  • Doing more exercise.
  • Doing more sports.
  • Acquiring more hobbies.

8. Showing Off and Exaggerating Wealth and Abilities

  • Presenting a financial situation better than the actual one.
  • Exaggerating wealth.
  • Exaggerating abilities.
  • Exaggerating achievements.
  • Showing off wealth.
  • Emphasizing social status.
  • Wearing expensive clothing.

9. Enhancing Social Media Profile

  • Posting flattering photos.
  • Posting more on social media.
  • Editing photos on social media to appear more handsome.

10. Losing Weight

  • Dieting.
  • Losing pounds.
  • Wearing clothes to make one look thinner.

As you can see from the extent of the questionnaire, Apostolou et al. (2023) attempted to cover all of the primary strategies people use in their quest to find a partner. The results were quite interesting and tended to be consistent across the world, with some differences in China. Overall, the most frequently used strategies were those in the category of enhancing looks, showing off abilities and talents, and demonstrating similarity. Females were more likely than males to engage in enhancing looks strategies. In contrast, males were more likely to use the strategies in two categories: increasing income and social status and showing off and exaggerating wealth and abilities. Future studies should look at these behaviors individually to determine if they are more likely to attract short- or long-term factors and whether or not these strategies are effective over time. What works in the early phases of a connection may be more or even less important over time.

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