With first dates come the first date dilemmas: What do you wear? What do you talk about? Should you really be yourself? A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin sheds some intriguing light on how different sexes perceive “responsiveness," and reveals that men are attracted to "responsive" women. But what does all of that really mean for a couple heading out for the first time?
Three couples reflect on their very first meeting and the impressions they had of each other.
Two studies explored behavior on a first date, like what men find attractive in women and vice versa. In the first study, researches sought to measure the attractiveness of “responsiveness."
The researchers defined responsiveness as a trait “that may signal to potential partners that one understands, values, and supports important aspects of their self-concept and is willing to invest resources in the relationship.” In the study, men found responsive women as the most feminine and sexually attractive. Women, however, had a different idea. They saw responsiveness as less masculine, and found more responsive men less desirable.
In the second study, participants chatted online with men and women who were deemed responsive or non-responsive. Beforehand, the participants viewed a photo of his or her partner. However, each woman was given the same photo of a man, while each man was given the same photo of a woman. Participants were then instructed to share problems in their lives with their partner.
After revealing their life’s troubles to strangers online, the participants evaluated how sexually attractive they found those virtual dates. Again, men rated responsive women as more desirable and most women reacted negatively to responsive partners, viewing them as less desirable, but why?
"Some women may interpret responsiveness negatively," said Dr. Gurit Birnbaum, the head researcher of the study. "[They] feel uncomfortable about a new acquaintance who seems to want to be close.”
So what does this mean for first dates? For women, it means showing your best qualities. Put on that dress that makes you feel attractive, and charm that man with your wit and responsiveness. But ladies, this may also mean to be careful to not "judge a book by it's cover." A guy who is responsive may be intriguing, so get to know him first!