“A woman is like a tea bag,
you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Having been single for ten years and dating, and not having found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I got concerned. I tried to get a sense of what went wrong. I’m attractive and carry myself at a ten-year-younger age, so I couldn’t help but think it must be my personality. Am I boring? Talk too much? Not a good listener? I asked myself: You are sixty and back in the dating game, what matters more, looks or personality?
The attractiveness of ones physical looks changes over time. And it seems to go at a faster rate as we pass through our fifties. Some of us have a tendency to just go with the flow and then some of us make “looking good” a priority in our lives. But what is the answer to finding a new relationship?
Science has found that a beautiful face in the initial impression becomes less important and that attraction—visual signs of good health, tight skin, athleticism, mental sharpness, good hair and dressing “not like your mother”, are among some of the aspects that keep us looking ageless, but is that all?
Researchers Paul Eastwick and Lucy Hunt, found that it’s “uniqueness” that becomes more appealing. (Relational Mate Value: Consensus and Uniqueness in Romantic Evaluations). A pretty face has a short-term advantage, but in the long run it’s getting to know someone over time that makes them more attractive. “Attraction” is how a person makes you feel. The more that person makes us feel good, the more we want to be with that person with the individual traits that make them unique. It’s the individual persona you have developed.
In the Eastwick and Hunt study they found that people seem to make their consensus about somebody’s appeal fairly quickly. If you think relationships are formed by this “love at first sight”, you are wrong. Only a 6%-11% of people fall in love with someone they just met. Romantic relationships form over time, getting to know someone makes one more attractive.
Increased familiarity can make someone more likable. It’s how we feel and not just a pretty face that makes them interesting to us. Of course, this all sounds good if you are in your forties. But, you are now fifty or sixty and meeting someone for the first time, what is it that will peek his interest?
There are many incredible beautiful women. They walk in a room and heads turn, yet they are not necessarily the ones a man wants for a long-term relationship. Remember the “feeling” quality that is the hook. He’s looking for someone that’s going to make him feel happy even when he’s not with you, just the thought of you. He’ll remember your laugh. Or maybe it’s the way you look at him, your overall positive energy. The more someone feels good about being with you, they prioritize that relationship.
The question then becomes, what is uniqueness? It’s the package we call “attitude” that you bring with you as you walk in the door! You reek of excitement and of feeling good about yourself.
The British dictionary defines personality as the sum total of all the behavioral and mental characteristics by means of which an individual is recognized as being unique–personal identity, the essential character. “Persona” is the aspect of their character or nature that they present to other people which is often different from the real or private character that person has.
Personality is broken into five components: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. We are going to assume you are open minded, conscience, agreeable and not neurotic. But it’s “extroversion” where you will understand how personality and persona work in the process of finding a new relationship.
Since extroverts make choices that place them in more positive situations leading them to a higher degree of positive effect, we can conclude that if introverts (people who are shy, socially inhibited) use extroverted behaviors (acting talkative, assertive, adventurous and outgoing) counter to their dispositional nature, they, too, can experience positive affects.This is why we need to learn to develop our persona—training our introverted selves to use extroverted behaviors.
Attitude is personality with persona. And this is the uniqueness that is very attractive.