By Roger Nygard, Filmmaker and Author
Do you want to know how to attract the right person on a date?
Like countless others looking for love, I realized that I’ve based my own standards on unreal depictions of people I’ve seen in the media and on social media, which typically accentuate the beautiful side of people’s lives and hide the negative. If everyone wants what they can’t get and don’t deserve, no wonder there are so many unhappy and unmarried people in the world.
Nevertheless, I interviewed a dozen marriage and dating experts including a world-class pickup artist for my book and documentary THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE—as a way to compile enough information not just for myself but for others who want to understand the secret law of attraction and the best way to attract the right person.
So, how DO you make a good and lasting impression on a first date? Do you need to put on a facade, and pretend to be somebody who has all the right qualities? Is the very nature of seduction manipulative? Is it possible to simply be yourself, be nice to everybody, and still attract others? Or do you have to learn how to play a dating game? This is where understanding the secret law of attraction can help with how to feel sexy and more desirable.
What determines who we are attracted to?
First, understanding what you want in a relationship is key. Without this simple understanding, it’s easy to feel the odds of attracting your life partner are not in your favor. It turns out, once we strip away the myths, there’s universal agreement all around the world about which features and qualities are considered attractive. A 1995 study by the University of Louisville revealed that more than 90% of different ethnicities and cultures found the same things attractive (which makes sense why the report was titled “Their Ideas of Beauty Are, on the Whole, the Same as Ours”).
I surveyed numerous men and women for THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE book to help women and men understand what determines who we are attracted to. Specifically, what do people want in a relationship? Here’s what I found:
What qualities do women want in a man:
- FUNNY (presumably with enough material to last 50 years).
- SMART (you need brains to get a good job).
- SIGNIFICANT INCOME (braces, school, doctors, cars, & piano lessons are expensive).
- HONEST (nobody wants a scammer).
- KIND (need to cut your spouse some slack when they’re in a bad mood).
- OPEN WITH FEELINGS (express your love, early and often).
- RELIABLE (erratic behavior makes it hard to hold that job).
- ROMANTIC (having an account at the florist is a smart investment).
- GOOD WITH KIDS (synonym for future parent material; synonym for patient).
- HANDSOME (sometimes an afterthought).
What qualities do men want in a woman:
- ATTRACTIVE (and various synonyms like beautiful, sexy, or smokin’ hot).
Often that’s when they scratched their heads, as they were trying to think of more. But when pressed for other qualities, they thought harder and added:
- APPRECIATES A SENSE OF HUMOR (has to laugh at fifty years of his bad jokes).
- SMART (but doesn’t appear too smart, because of his fragile ego).
- INDEPENDENT (meaning she’ll give him some space or let him go to his man cave as author John Gray puts it in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).
Both men and women also listed things like passion, trust, forgiveness, respect, appreciation, compatibility, shared interests, and communication.
The Real Truth behind How to be Happy in a Relationship
It turns out there’s a disconnect between people’s idealized lists and the data representing the actual choices they make in online dating. When I interviewed psychologist Ty Tashiro for THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE documentary, he explained that people say at first they want somebody nice, but ultimately: “Men go for looks first and money second. Women go for money first and looks second. Things have not changed much in millions of years. We still choose partners based on survival. We want people who are physically attractive and who have a lot of resources.”
Is anybody shocked and surprised by these findings? However, Dr. Tashiro warns us to overcome our instinct for bank statements and hotness and gave an example:
“There is an opportunity cost to going for certain characteristics. Let’s say that a woman wants a guy who is six feet or taller. That would mean she has excluded 80% of all men and gotten rid of guys who are nice, kind, intelligent, and other characteristics that might be more important. Wealth is important up to a certain level—you need to be comfortable. But once you reach a certain point above the poverty line, wealth has a low return on investment when it comes to satisfaction and stability. We tend to over-optimize on physical attractiveness and wealth, and the return we get on that has low return on investment when you think about satisfaction and long-term stability.” — Ty Tashiro, Ph.D.
In the next post on this blog here I will list 5 of the specific strategies recommended by the marriage and dating experts on how to attract the right partner. If you’d like to learn more tips, check out links below for the funny documentary The Truth about Marriage and The Truth about Marriage companion book by Roger Nygard. Both will help you learn how to find the right relationship, and keep it healthy and vibrant.