Study Says That Most Of The People Look For Kindness Over Other Attributes In A Relationship

While physical attractiveness and stable financial prospects are important, people want kindness to be the top quality in their partner for a long-term relationship.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Sep 23, 2019 08:18 IST
Study Says That Most Of The People Look For Kindness Over Other Attributes In A Relationship

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One of the qualities that people want in a serious long-term relationship is kindness, suggests a study conducted by Swansea University, Britain. People want their partner to be kind over everything else. Good looks do matter but not more than empathy. 

As per the paper published in the Journal of Personality, the research was conducted on 2,700 college students around the world. They were asked to define what qualities would they want in their partner using a fixed budget to purchase characteristics. This was an innovative way to determine the results. While traits like financial status and physical attractiveness were there, a majority of the students prioritized kindness for a healthy relationship

This study was held to compare the dating choices of students of Western countries like the UK, Australia and Norway and Eastern countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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"Looking at very different culture groups allows us to test the idea that some behaviors are human universals. If men and women act in a similar way across the globe, then this adds weight to the idea that some behaviors develop in spite of culture rather than because of it," said the senior researcher Andrew G. Thomas from Swansea University, Britain.

All the participants were given eight characteristics that they could spend their ‘mate dollars’ on: good financial prospects, physical attractiveness, the desire for children, chastity, kindness, humor, religiosity and creativity.

Even though there were some differences between Western and Eastern students, there were some amazing similarities between their choices. Most of the students spent their 22-26% mate dollars on kindness. A major part was given to financial prospects and attractiveness while traits like creativity and chastity got less than 10% budget.

The differences of choices did vary with sexes where men gave more points to physical attractiveness. Similarly, women gave more points to financial prospects as compared to the opposite sex.

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The head researcher, Dr. Andrew G. Thomas, believes that this study is necessary to understand the human behavior of different regions and cultures. 

The findings also showed that Western women look for partners with a desire for children.

"We think this may have something to do with family planning," said Thomas. "In cultures where contraception is widespread, a partner's desire for children may predict the likelihood of starting a family.

"In contrast, in cultures where contraception use is less widespread, having children may be a natural consequence of sex within a relationship, making an actual desire for children less relevant."

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