Playfulness is one of the more attractive personality traits, psychologists have found.
Playful people are also particularly keen for their partners to be playful.
The playful prefer someone who is funny, laidback and creative.
The five most attractive personality traits, though, are:
- kindness and understanding,
- sense of humour,
- being fun loving,
- and having an exciting personality.
The signal that playfulness sends
Playful people enjoy teasing, wordplay, improvising and taking challenges in a lighthearted way.
They enjoy unusual things and are good at creating situations people can enjoy.
Playfulness seems to send a slightly different type of positive signal to men and women.
To women playfulness sends the signal that a man is not aggressive.
To a man it send the signal that a woman has vitality.
Dr René Proyer, the study’s first author, said:
“Therefore, this personality trait also seems important for the choice of partner — at least more so than the partner having a degree, good genes or being religious.”
The conclusions come from a survey of 327 young adults.
They were asked which traits they found desirable in a long-term partner.
Both men and women mostly agreed on the order of the traits.
However, women were more interested in a sense of humour and men in an exciting personality.
Dr Proyer said:
“Although we should be cautious while interpreting the data, this could be an indication that playful people are actually perceived as more attractive partners or that playfulness increasingly develops in the relationship.”
The study’s author write that playfulness may increase well-being:
“…individuals perceive playfulness as being beneficial to well-functioning romantic relationships by increasing the well-being of the partners, by maintaining the relationships’ excitement, and by conveying the each individual’s affection for his or her partner, and—more generally speaking—by more deeply cultivating the relationship.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the American Journal of Play (Proyer & Wagner, 2015).