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Kindness is key when consumers think about life partners

The positive personality trait beat out physical attractiveness

Photo (c) PeopleImages - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from Swansea University found that being kind is the best personality trait when it comes to finding a lifelong partner. 

Researchers enlisted over 2,700 college students from all over the world to theoretically “buy” the personality traits of their ideal partner choosing from eight possible attributes: 

  • Religiosity 

  • Secure finances 

  • Humor 

  • Creativity 

  • Attractiveness 

  • Kindness 

  • Desire for children 

  • Chastity 

Participants hailed from western countries like Norway, Australia, and the U.K., and Eastern countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The researchers noted that men and women from either side of the globe had different priorities when it came to their partners. 

While the women involved in the study spent more on financial security than their male counterparts, male participants spent more on physical attractiveness than female participants. However, kindness ultimately won out across the board, as the trait comprised between 22 and 26 percent of all participants’ “purchases” overall. 

The researchers believe that having cross-cultural studies of this nature is an effective way to really crack open consumers’ mindsets and provide insights into decision-making. 

“Looking at very different culture groups allows us to test the idea that some behaviours are human universals,” said researcher Dr. Andrew G. Thomas. “If men and women act in similar ways across the globe, then this adds weight to the idea that some behaviours develop in spite of culture rather than because of it.” 

Finances could be important down the line

Other recent studies have looked more deeply at how finances can make it or break it for some couples. 

While one recent from earlier this year found that almost half of consumers would end their relationship due to excessive spending habits, another found that overall financial compatibility could also be a deal breaker in relationships. 

"It's probably not a great idea to ask for someone's financial history on the first date," said credit card analyst Mike Cetera. "However, it's better to know if a potential partner has a history of bad financial decisions before the relationship goes too far, especially if you plan on making large purchases together or sharing bank accounts." 

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