10 personality traits that make you attractive to others

They say that beauty is only skin deep. So what deeper character traits really get our pulses going? 

Are there certain qualities that make someone more attractive to others?

Whilst we’re all looking for slightly different things, it seems some personality traits are universally attractive. 

Here are 10 personality traits that make you attractive to others.

1. Confidence

The first attractive trait on our list is unlikely to come as any great surprise. 

Plenty of research has found confidence to strongly predict overall romantic attractiveness.

Everyone can think of a man or woman who is magnetic, despite not being the most aesthetically attractive person in the room. 

But what they do have is a deep-seated confidence that commands respect. And this is very sexy. 

That inner confidence signals to potential mates that you have something special.  

The key with getting confidence right though is never to let it come across as arrogance, as this has the opposite effect. 

One researcher from the University of Queensland School of Psychology, Sean Murphy discovered: 

“that participants who scored high on our tests of overconfidence were perceived as more confident in their dating profiles. Confidence, in turn, was a strong predictor of overall romantic attractiveness. Nevertheless, overconfident individuals were not seen as more attractive. This finding suggested to us that overconfidence might simultaneously be having a negative impact on desirability through some means we weren’t measuring. Our first thought was that individuals who are overconfident might often also often come across as arrogant, and that this might have undercut the beneficial effects of confidence.”

The most attractive people are confident yet never cocky. 

2. Sincerity

Authenticity is everything when it comes to being attractive. 

When you try to be someone you are not, it shines through often in the most uncomfortable ways. 

It’s always tempting to people please, especially when there is someone we want to impress. 

But it’s true what they say, it’s far better to be yourself. 

It shows you are comfortable with who you are, and it helps put people at ease. 

There is a vulnerability in being yourself, and we all find that very admirable and attractive in others, if not very challenging to do ourselves. 

Researchers call this the “beautiful mess effect”.

Studies have found that despite our apprehension and fear it will make us seem weak, when people are able to open up it is actually viewed by others as “desirable” and “good.”

3. Independence

One key component of desire is that it is something that is almost out of reach. This is when playing a little hard to get has its advantages. 

You never want to be seen as unavailable, but to be considered more attractive it helps to be seen as more scarce. 

According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence, there’s a good reason for this. 

“What the scarcity principle says is that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,” 

Basically, because of a psychological phenomenon known as reactance, the more limited something seems, the more we want to get our hands on it. And this goes for people too. 

A healthy way to do this is through independence, as opposed to game playing.

When we come across as autonomous and independent, it keeps a healthy amount of space between two people that allows enough room for desire to grow. 

4. Kindness

Despite what they say, it’s not true that nice guys (or gals) finish last. 

In fact, if there was one trait above all that impacts most on attraction, it is compassion. 

Countless studies have found that altruism, kindness, supportiveness, and empathy are what we look for most in someone and find most desirable.

One piece of research noted that altruism was a great determining factor in mating success.

 ​“Participants who scored higher on a self-report altruism measure reported they were more desirable to the opposite sex, as well as reported having more sex partners, more casual sex partners, and having sex more often within relationships.”

Whether you’re looking for a long-term loving relationship, or a passionate short-fling it seems that kindness is still king. 

5. Sense of humor 

Of course, humor is incredibly relative. We all find different things and different people amusing. 

But one thing is for sure, multiple studies have proven the significance of humor when it comes to attraction. 

One study asked three men to tell a joke to their friends whilst a nearby woman was in earshot. Afterward, they were told to go over and ask for her number. 

The men who cracked a joke had a far better success rate and were three times more likely to get the number. That’s not all. They were also ranked as more attractive and more intelligent by the woman. 

We all value a sense of humor, but professor Rod A. Martin of Western University says there are differences between the sexes. 

“Although both sexes say they want a sense of humor, in our research women interpreted this as ‘someone who makes me laugh,’ and men wanted ‘someone who laughs at my jokes”.

Whether you’re the one cracking the jokes or lapping them up, either way, the ability to have a laugh with others is one of the secret sauces to being seen as more attractive. 

6. Positivity 

Negaholics are soooo unsexy. I call them negaholics because negativity seems almost like an addiction. 

They’re always moaning about something and seem so hard to please. Rather than being glass-half-full types, they are too busy complaining that they hate whatever drink is in the glass anyway, so why bother? 

That downer energy can be a real drain, so is it any wonder that we find positive personality traits more attractive? 

Relationship expert Dr. Terri Orbuch (Ph.D.) told Business Insider:

“We are attracted to partners who are positive and optimistic: able to laugh and smile. Negativity breeds negativity, and when we’re around others who are negative, it affects our mood and outlook on life and in general. So, we want to be with others who are positive, focus on the positive, and see the good in most situations.”

7. Attentiveness

At the end of the day, we like people who like us. So much so that researchers have found that responsiveness seems to be a key component of desire. 

They think that is because attentiveness is an important element in building intimacy. That’s what really makes you more attractive to someone, being able to build intimacy with them. 

You obviously can’t do that if you hardly listen to what they say, never try to dig deeper into their lives, or show a strong interest in them. 

Studies have shown that overall, better responsiveness to someone is associated with increased desire. 

Researchers concluded: “responsive partners were seen as making one feel valued as well as better potential mates for anyone and thus as more sexually desirable”. 

In short, the more attention you pay someone, the more special they feel, and the greater the attraction. 

8. Open-minded

Being open-minded isn’t just a personality trait, it’s a lifestyle choice. And one that benefits not only yourself but everyone around you. 

No wonder it’s such an attractive quality. It’s also linked to a whole host of other appealing characteristics in somebody. 

It can make you:

  • More curious
  • Less defensive 
  • A better listener
  • More empathetic
  • More of a critical thinker

When you are open-minded you are more open to opportunity and the adventures that life has to offer. 

Why is that so attractive?

Well according to experts, psychological flexibility is the most important trait for healthy relationships.

In a meta-analytical study with 43,952 participants, researchers found that “being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.”

9. Self-awareness

One of the most empowering traits to have is to be self-aware. 

As psychologists, Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund put it in ‘A Theory of Objective Self Awareness’:

“Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards. If you’re highly self-aware, you can objectively evaluate yourself, manage your emotions, align your behavior with your values, and understand correctly how others perceive you.”

Self-awareness is key in order to truly know yourself. Being better acquainted with yourself allows you to feel more confident about everything you have to offer. 

But it also gives you the gift of being able to recognize and understand your flaws and failings too. This is essential when we want to change and grow. 

So it’s no wonder that self-awareness improves our relationships with others. 

10. Friendliness

There’s a lot to be said for just being friendly.

Don’t bother practicing your best smoldering look, it seems that a simple smile will get you much further.

In fact, studies have found that the bigger the smile, the more attractive people were found to be. Even if someone was relatively unattractive, a happy facial expression compensated for it. 

Meanwhile, another study noted that happiness was seen as the most attractive emotion in women. 

Smiling is the instant way to appear more attractive. 

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

12 personality traits of a classy man

8 personality traits of resilient people (even when things are going against them)