Here comes Valentine's Day. Although it didn't originate as a day to celebrate romance, it has definitely become celebrated as such in our society.

Every year, as the day approaches, those who find themselves single (and don't want to be) may feel the urge to at least find someone with whom to celebrate the occasion. And then, they start to think about how attractive they may (or may not) be to a potential love interest.

So, what are the things that people look for in a potential love interest?

When it comes to attractiveness, naturally the first thing that comes to mind for many people is physical attributes.

Now clearly, that's going to play a role in lighting an initial spark on some level. Interestingly enough though, even in our visually-oriented culture, when it comes to attracting someone on a level that leads to longer-term relationships, there's one trait that always seems to be near or at the top of the list.

The trait that people say they want the most in a romantic partner may surprise you.

Any guesses?

A sense of humor is important to many people.

Intelligence? Also a trait many people find attractive.

There are several listed that are an integral part of the overall "package" of a person. However, the thing that consistently hovers near or at the top of the list is...kindness.

Alexey Bocha, Unsplash
Alexey Bocha, Unsplash
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There was research conducted several years ago that confirmed this via survey.

According to an article on the Bustle Magazine website, "Elite Singles ran a survey of 400,000 singles and found that for 82 percent of women and 70 percent of menkindness is very important for considering a long-term relationship with someone. It outranked sex, money, connection, and pretty much whatever else you can think of. It's all down to being kind."

Surprised?

If you think about it, when it comes to the person who you may be spending some serious time with, much of your happiness will be affected by how you interact with each other in everyday moments.

Even if the passionate rush of attraction is incredible and you think they may be the most gorgeous, smartest, wittiest person on the planet, if your daily conversation and interactions aren't under-girded with a generous spirit and a default orientation of kindness to one another, all those other good traits are going to start to lose their luster.

On the other hand, have you ever gotten to know someone a little better whom you may not have initially noticed?

If it turns out they have a sincerely charming personality and they go out of their way to be thoughtful, notice how they start to become more and more attractive to you? I guess Mom was right: "Pretty is as pretty does."

In fact, one of the most consistent predictors of whether or not a relationship will work for the long haul is whether or not they treat each other with kindness.

Does that mean they never argue? Of course not, but it does mean that even when expressing anger they do so from a place of kindness whenever possible. What is the number one trait that predicts the breakdown of a relationship? Contempt. But that's a topic for another day.

Bottom line? Turns out, kindness may be the most attractive trait of all.

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