Does being supportive make you more attractive?

Repeat after me: ‘Oh no, that must have been awful for you.’ There. You just instantly became more attractive to men (hey, it’s cheaper than buying an LBD). Use that – or a similarly supportive phrase – on a first date or even in an initial tweet with a guy you’re really into, and you could’ve made a love match for life. Seriously.

In probably the most important science news of the day, researchers say that establishing an emotional connection is the key to a first date turning into a long-term relationship, and that nothing makes a man feel more connected than a woman who’s verbally responsive.

A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin sought to find out if actually taking an interest in the person you’re going out with made them like you more. And (surprise?) it did – for men.

Psychologists from IDC Herzliya, the University of Rochester, and the University of Illinois worked on the research together, and found that in a number of situations, including online interactions, men who saw women as more responsive and supportive also found them more attractive. So, you might be wondering, these researchers were paid to discover that people like people who are nice to them? Well, yes. But only partly.

Interestingly, women in the study weren’t as keen on men who were responsive, at least not on a first date – in fact, they actually found them less attractive. This might be because of a fear of creepers who come on too strong, or because we assume a man who wants to listen only likes us as a friend. Which means there might be something in the idea that guys should treat us mean to keep us keen. Nobody tell them, please.

Image via Pedro Ribeiro Simões’ Flickr.

Diane Shipley