Sunday August 30th 2015

#1 Most Attractive Trait Men and Women Look For

Do you sometimes wish you knew what you know now when you were younger?

I do most of the time. When I was younger, I dreamed of marrying a doctor, engineer, university professor or some other well educated man. I was mostly attracted to students studying engineering, medicine and statistics because of their “high intelligence”.

The older me has a completely different way of looking at “intelligence” as an attractive quality. The way I see it now, there is a profound difference between intellectualism and intelligence.

I have lived among people who are poorly educated in the book smart sense but intelligent and also among people who are highly educated in the book smart sense but not necessarily intelligent.

One group relies on using their intellect and learned knowledge to frame and discuss ideas, gather and sort information, debate and pontificate. They know all the rules of grammar but are incapable of thinking well abstractly (beyond what they have “read in books”). They present and want their “knowledge” in black and white, and solutions as direct, nuance-free and as unchanging as possible.

The other group may not be necessarily “book smart’, sound fluent or articulate in their presentation of ideas and information but are very much aware and can relate to how the world around them really works, and can easily understand and adapt to the constantly changing world we live in.

If I were in an unfamiliar or even dangerous situation where I had to choose to take help from only one group, it will always be the poorly educated in the book smart sense but smart enough to know how to utilize whatever limited resources life throws their way to find a solution to any problem and get the job done.

If I found myself some day “looking for someone” again, I wouldn’t necessarily be looking for someone who comes off sounding “book smart.” I’d be looking for someone who uses his “intelligence” to take appropriate actions, discern likely obstacles and adjust accordingly.

Someone who doesn’t just preach the bootstrap theory because he looks at those who haven’t made it (like he has) as people who can’t think their way out of their problems but instead understands that in life some of us thrive and some of us survive. Some of us are “fortunate” to have had a fair start in life and others start with nothing. And while one person can achieve unimaginable success, someone with the same or better combination of traits may not, however hard he/she tries.

Someone who doesn’t just read or write a bunch of books about the plight of the poor, disadvantaged children, abused seniors, etc, but helps old ladies across the street, helps out at a soup-kitchen or finds disadvantaged kids and gives them a good start in life.

I’ve not become ant-intellectualism, I’m just saying when it comes to looking for a mate, keep in mind that some “intellectuals” are just disguised compassion-challenged snobs who speak in good grammar but will hesitate when it comes to getting their hands “dirty” doing the actual job.

When vetting a potential mate, look at someone’s compassion track record, not their “smart’ sounding words. Words are cheap and anyone can say anything. What has he/she actually done that says he/she is high on practical intelligence? IQ test results won’t keep you warm in the middle of the night or feeling safe in the good times and the bad times, in sickness and in health.

To some of my exes who read my articles, no offense intended. I’m proud that all of you made good on your high intelligence and some of you were high on compassion quotient as well. I was just too messed up then to see it. It was not you, it was me… 😉

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

51 Responses to “#1 Most Attractive Trait Men and Women Look For”

  1. Emmanuel says:

    Nice post, very thought provoking. Thanks for posting.

  2. Leia says:

    I agree with you. I would rather have someone who is more well-rounded and aware of their surroundings, than someone who is intellectual but oblivious to the simpler things in life.

    Great description of intellectualism vs. intelligence.

  3. “obvilious to the simpler things in life”. I like that :)

  4. Amy L. says:

    You convey the sensitivity of a woman who has been there and the authority of a woman who is now in full control of her love life. I am fortunate to be working with you.

  5. FSOGenie says:

    I’m what you call a book smart intellectual and makes sense to me that I’d want a partner who is equally book smart. I don’t think I could have a serious relationship with someone who isn’t an intellectual. We wouldn’t have anything in common to talk about and daily conversation would be impossible. I don’t even really like hanging out with people who aren’t book smart.

  6. Jake says:

    What elitist nonsense! It’s silly to judge someone for their book smarts and not for who they ARE as a person. I guess if you spend so much time with your nose in a book, you lose your sensitivity to others. You could learn a thing or two from people who spend more of their time with other human beings but then again you wouldn’t think there is something you can learn from people you perceive to be less intelligent than yourself.

  7. FSOGenie says:

    I understand your sensitivity. I’m just being honest.

  8. FSOGenie, I respect your honesty. This is one reason I have this blog, for people to be free to be “authentically human” and not just detached intellectuals living in their heads … :)

    You do bring an interesting angle to the discussion. I certainly hope this post isn’t coming across as anti-book smart people because that’s not what it’s about. I also agree with you that having things in common to talk about is VERY IMPORTANT for any serious relationship.

    In real life though, relationships aren’t just about “intellectual conversations”. In order for a relationship to be healthy and fulfilling at all levels, the person has to offer more than intellectual conversations. Some of the qualities that make a great partner aren’t as obvious as ability to frame and discuss ideas, gather and sort information, debate etc.

    That’s why I recommend looking at the person’s track record to see how well he applies his/her intelligence to him/herself and to others. It’s usually a pretty good indicator of how you’ll be intelligently loved and cared for.

  9. SWORDMASTER says:

    I’m also an intellectual and enjoy intellectual discussions and debates with other intellectuals. I’m unsuccessful with women yet I see a lot of smart woman with dumb guys. I refuse to dumb myself just to be with someone.

  10. I don’t think women necessarily don’t like you because you’re so smart. The whole point of dating – in my opinion – is to “demonstrate your intelligence” to a potential partner. If you’re not doing it, then you have to really sit down with yourself and ask just how smart are you really?

  11. Musathegentlesoul says:

    As-Salaam Alaykum! I come in peace.

    A woman and a university professor on their first date started arguing about how many types of kisses there are and how they are different from each other. He was explaining the difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss when she got up and kissed him lightly on the lips. He wiped his lips and continued explaining the difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss. She waited until he was in the middle of a sentence and got up and kissed him again, this time more firmly in the mouth. He wiped his mouth and continued explaining the difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss. She again waited until he was in the middle of a sentence and got up and dug her tongue deep inside his throat. She kissed him for a minute or so. After she was done, he cleared his throat and continued explaining the difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss. Frustrated she shouted, “The difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss is a corpse!” Guess what their next conversation was about? The difference between kissing a corpse and kissing a living person!

  12. LOL! I get what you’re saying.

    If there was a door marked “Hot Women” and a door marked “Lecture About Hot Women”, some men would line up for the lecture (see my article: 10 Types Of Men Women Don’t Find Attractive)

    As I always say, when it comes to relationships, you’ve got to be able to translate book smarts into A FEELING that prompts action! Most book smart people tend to become so impressed with their own voice/words, they have no clue as to how to TUNE IN to people’s EMOTIONS in ways that prompt action.

  13. Annabel says:

    This is an interesting topic. I dated a science professor some years ago. He wasn’t just textbook smart, but intelligent smart. He was the kind of guy who when he was in a room everyone knew he was the smartest guy in the room. He’d debate about politics, philosophy, fashion, animals etc. one moment and the next has his shirt sleeves rolled up helping a friend paint his house and the next he’s laughing and telling funny stories. He had that all round intellignce that’s so attractive.

    I’m not in a relationship right now but I‘d want a partner who has an affinity for world knowledge, knows how the world works, is well travelled or at least wants to travel and see the world, and tries to leave the world a better place than he found it.

  14. Knowledge one learns from academic endeavors and knowledge one acquires from life experience sometimes aren’t mutually exclusive. It only becomes a problem in the relationship if one person is one dimensional — which often is the case when someone has very limited life /direct/hands-on experiences.

  15. Duped007 says:

    I don’t know the difference between a French kiss and a butterfly kiss but if the lady is still available, tell her I’m still single! :) :) :)

  16. Candice says:

    Duped007, she probably doesn’t want to go out with you. She’s attracted to professors

  17. Duped007 says:

    I’m still a young 37. I can become a professor if that’ll get me tongued deep in the throat. It’s been a long while since anyone gave me one of those.

  18. ceejay says:

    How is it that a man’s self esteem can be so low that he assumes that if a woman is not interested in him it’s because he’s so smart? People are attracted to who they are attracted to. I find Brad Pitt look-alike type guys very attractive but they probably wouldn’t be interested in me because I’m no Angelina Jolie in the looks department. But I don’t go around feeling “owed” because some hot dude prefers to date a certain type of women. I’m sure there are some guys out there who’d be attracted to a smart, intelligent, witty, self confident, and going places woman like me.

    All of this to say, people are attracted to who they are attracted to and so it should be.

    Thanks for a great post, keep up the good work.

  19. The Realist says:

    This is a great post and definitely some food for thought.

    A rocket scientist and a mechanic are both book-smart but different books. I think that the most important thing is to be the best at what you do best and to know which book smart people to hire to do the things you suck at.

  20. Shawn says:

    “How can a man’s self esteem be so low that he assumes…”

    This is coming from a guy who’s in a pretty serious relationship with someone equally if not more intelligent than himself. Turn on the tv and tel me what you see in nearly every commercial or tv show? A bunch of wimpy, unintelligent guys getting their asses kicked out of cars or out of windows for not giving enough attention to a restaurant patron.

    The funny thing is in many of these tv spots these men are MARRIED or we can at least assume they’re supposed in be in long term relationships. That’s today’s image of the dumbed down American male. If you are educated and seemingly in control of your life there is a HUGE possibiity that most women will not want you if they don’t feel like they can take care of you…mold you…make you “better”. Maybe this is where women fail to understand the plight of today’s man. It’s not that most of us are trying to come off as the delusional intellect who knows everything. We can’t help who we are, and quite honestly it just isn’t attractive to a lot of women.

    That’s why we have to dumb down at times. We could argue this to T.E.Of.T, but until you know what’s it like to have to lie about your education, career, and the fact that you’re a GREAT father to your son…

    Trust me you have no idea what we go through when out there dating. I’m just lucky enough not to have to dumb down to the WOMAN I’m involved with. There’s still hope out there for us “brainy types”. :)

  21. I hear what you’re saying Shawn and if you read my articles, I decry the messed up dating world single people have to navigate these days.

    But I refuse to accept that an intelligent woman meets say an engineer, doctor etc who is successful, works hard, earns a good salary, is confident, has high self-esteem, is kind, funny, romantic, emotionally and sexually together, treats others with respect and knows how to love a woman etc. and the intelligent woman says to herself, “He is everything I look for in a guy BUT I can’t get involved because he is so smart!

    I also find it hard to believe that this kind of brainy guy who is also a GREAT father to his son would want to lie about his education, career etc because intelligent women will not find him desirable.

    What I’m trying to say is I don’t believe being “brainy” is the problem. It’s the packaging, presentation and delivery that is a problem for most guys who have a hard time with women. Ask any brainy guy who also has the packaging, presentation and delivery nailed down, and he’ll tell you women BEG to go out with him. This is the kind of men most women dream marrying.

    There IS and ALWAYS has been hope for the “brainy types that KNOW HOW to package, present and deliver their “brainy” selves. I see it so often in my work.

  22. Shawn says:

    I think you hit the nail right on the spot. No man who is a GREAT father to his son would WANT to lie about his education and accomplishments…

    And yes it takes an INTELLIGENT woman to want a man who obviously wants something out of life other than 6 hours of NBA Live on PS3 and a slice of ass to hold his hand when he throws the joystick to the side.

    What can never be denied is that some people out there just don’t know what to do with “nice s**t”. Good credit, a good education, or a good mate. The packaging, presentation, and delivery could all be in solid form, but not everyone will take kindly to it. Sometimes you have to alter the reality of what you’re really bringing to the table to become more attractive.

    I found this ALWAYS happens when dealing with unintelligent women who fail to appreciate “nice s**t”. I’m sure that some intelligent women would say the same about unintelligent men. At least that’s what I see so often in my line of work.

  23. First off, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as an “unintelligent” person. Intelligence comes in many forms, please read my article: The Two Most Desired Traits In A Mate – This Will Blow Your Pants Off. I think what you’re talking is book smart… which is just one type of intelligence.

    Just curious as what a brainy guy like you is doing with “unintelligent” women ???? I’d think that brainy people would be smart enough to know! I’m not brainy but I know where I don’t want to be and who I don’t want to be with. I think it’s called “social intelligence” or something like that… 😉

  24. Shawn says:

    We could play the semantics game, but that just seems childish not to mention it deviates from the issue at hand.

    So how about we leave it as “those who lack common sense specifically when dating”?

    Good enough?

    I’ve never been one to claim that I’m a “good guy” or “I’m not like those other guys”. A Brainy Guy is still a Guy. We’re gonna want to date, and I would hope you won’t play silly and claim that a Brainy Guy or even a Good Guy would never sit through a date without hoping there has to be more to this lackadaisical person who seems to lack…

    common sense. Yes.

    I mean that is why sites like this exist correct? That is why “relationship gurus” continue to peddle their e-books and consulting services to help people avoid such pitfalls as dating those we’d be hopelessly incompatible with right?


    Trial and error. We’ve all been there, or maybe you’ve been able to channel your inner Sylvia Browne to avoid these sort of dates. Ah but see I think this conversation ended with your 4 question marks leading to an ad hominem. That’s typical and ought to be expected when having a dating discussion with the fairer sex.

    Not to be mysogynistic though. As I’ve already stated I’m pretty sure that my girlfriend has me beat in…well by your description at least 3 of the 8 types of intelligence.

    Next time though you shouldn’t assume that being “smart enough” equates to having psychic powers. That’s just rude. Actually if this were the case then why would anyone require your services?

  25. I wasn’t assuming anything or trying to be rude in any way. I’m not even sure how from my comment you came up with all that “other stuff”…

    All I did was refute your assertion that the reason “smart” guys aren’t lucky is because they’re so smart and nothing they could do could make them attractive because women just can’t handle “smart guys”.

    You went on to say these women are the “unintelligent ones” and I asked why if they’re so smart, smart guys don’t figure out that a woman is “unintelligent” and leave her alone. When a guy dumbs himself down (alter the reality of what he brings to the table) to be attractive to an “unintelligent” woman, what does that say about his “smart-ness”…

    This would have been a fruitful discussion, but you obviously chose the “war path” and no one benefits anything from that approach to a discussion.

  26. Rahul says:

    That right there is a live dem. of intellectualism vs. intelligence. Your INTELLIGENCE speaks for itself, Love Doctor. You held your own brilliantly. Say no more. :)

  27. Shawn says:

    Lovely first post to this discussion Rahul. :)

    “You need more people…”

  28. Buscaglia says:

    I’m an architectural engineer, published in many journals and involved in many research projects, so I guess one can call me brainy. I loved this post because it explains intelligence in a non theoretical and unbiased matter-of-fact way.

    One can have a very high IQ but fall short in many skills that would come under “intelligence”.

    Thank you for saying it like it is.

  29. Henry Adams says:

    Great post!

    The Love Doctor says: “It’s the packaging, presentation and delivery that is a problem for most guys who have a hard time with women”.

    My theory of why book smart people have a hard time in dating and relationships in general is as follows:

    1. They’re so full of themselves that even when they’re wrong they can’t or won’t see it or admit it. Accepting that they’re wrong or “don’t know” is a very hard thing for “smart” people.

    2. They have poor interpersonal skills and that’s why they’re often ignored or dismissed in social interactions which in turn makes them bitter, angry, uptight, obnoxious and antisocial.

    3. They have a need to always be right or the expert even on subjects they obviously have no clue or experience in.

    4. They can’t deal with fear and other emotions and can become so defensive and self centered to the extent that they will not hesitate to torture someone for the sake of escaping from dealing with their fears and emotions.

    5. They’re all about why something will not work and have a habit of coming up with all kinds of horrible scenarios, imaginary outcomes and negative emotions to prove why it’s useless to even try.

    This is from a brainy guy who also has the packaging, presentation and delivery nailed down!

  30. Buscaglia…
    Thanks. Someone has got to do the “dirty” jobs :)

    Henry Adams…
    Nice theory there. You do have it nailed down indeed :)

    Ability to handle interpersonal interactions, sensitivity to others’ feelings and concerns and taking their perspective, appreciating the difference in how people feel about things, tuning into their verbal and nonverbal clues and managing one’s own emotions and the emotions in others is THE key to successful dating– and happy and fulfilling relationships.

  31. CiNdy says:

    It’s important not only to achieve academic excellence but also increase one’s emotional quotient.

  32. I agree. Unfortunately most institutions of academic excellence (and some parenting styles) are not geared toward enhanced emotional intelligence.

  33. Saxena says:

    Yangki, your experience with dating guys based on intelligence reminds me of my own experience. I signed up on a paid dating site that claimed to have a test that gives an all-round picture of a person’s intelligence and match it with a compatible partner. One phone call and I realized I had been matched with a guy who could split the atom and recite the Old Testament but couldn’t string four words together talking to a woman. I like to think of myself as reasonably intelligent and not superficial to judge people on the surface, but I could not pretend I was attracted to him. He told me I had no intelligence otherwise I’d be able to see how lucky I was to have been matched with him.

    Thank you for your inspiring posts. You give some of us hope that there are all-round intelligent guys out there for all-round intelligent women.

  34. Revonsuo says:

    Intelligence means different things to different people. Personally I don’t find intelligence per se attractive. A woman has to be physically attractive and have a brilliant personality in addition to being intelligent.

  35. Lori says:

    Coming out of a long marriage with a very insecure controlling abusive husband, I’d have to say confidence – self-assuredness, high self-esteem, strong for others and really funny- is most attractive to me.

  36. Satsangi says:

    I’d never date a guy that isn’t at my level of intelligence even though he has a heart of gold. If it doesn’t click mentally I’m not even going to pretend like it’d last.

  37. I see where you’re coming from. Intellectual stimulation in a relationship is critical but so is emotional security and stability. A heart with the “right gold” is a great investment. Wouldn’t you agree?… 😉

  38. Kuckreja says:

    The Love Doctor says: “I’d think that brainy people would be smart enough to know…

    We attract the people we deserve. Intelligent men are able to determine what is important in life and forgo much of the social pressure to put on a facade of “success” while book educated men tend to care just a bit too much about what others think.

  39. Amy L. says:

    Most of the intellectual type men I’ve met have relatively low self-esteem in spite of their achievements and no social skills whatsoever. They can be educated in the “best” universities but if you try to talk to them as a woman talking to a man they shrink right in front of your eyes.

    Intelligence is knowing what you can change and change it. Intellectuals need to work on their self esteem and learn social skills. IMO only a delusional person deludes themselves into thinking that brains are enough, they do not need to do the things that attract the right partner but still expects to find one.

  40. Rosebud says:

    I’m attracted to intelligent men but smartarses that are full of themselves and talk about their accomplishments and those that correct you for everything little thing are a serious turn off.

  41. QueenB69 says:

    I have a Master’s degree and a high-powered career. No way will I ever date a broke high school drop-out with no future, a saint’s heart and all that. I can’t settle for less. I just can’t do it. I’d rather be single all my life.

  42. Dating a man that’s broke and has no future is an entirely different story. That’s economics… :) A while back I wrote a personal story that if you have time you can check it out here: Everybody Has Got A Story That Could Break Your Heart

    Some highly educated/intellectuals are slackers, no ambition, no aspirations broke. And some smart and successful men are self made men who didn’t finish college. I’m not “advising” you to date men that didn’t finish college, I’m only pointing out that a university or college degree does not always equal economic success.

  43. DonQ29 says:

    To the men who fail to find an intelligent woman, have you considered the possibility that intelligent women have been avoiding you?

  44. Paul says:

    hey i really like this article

    For me the difference is in knowledge that is learned through language, reading books etc is not the same as knowledge learned from experience.

    There is an authenticity to the latter which cannot be said for the former.

    We can all get into intellectual debates about the nature of truth. But for me, one of the most human things is how we subjectively view the world, that is through our own eyes, first hand, without that filter of intellectual analysis which we have imbibed from books.

  45. KC says:

    Best article I ever read on the subject as to what makes a good man. It’s a shame that an intelligent article like this one won’t make the full rounds within society because the powers that be prefer to promote “intelligence” as something completely different than what it really is. Quite similar to everything that was mentioned in this article. Ladies, if you really want a true MAN, study the writings of this article. But wait, too many of you would probably still fall for the rich and handsome pretty guy who’s usually too full of himself to care about you.

  46. Olga says:

    Kindness is a very important trait to look for. If someone isn’t kind when they’re on their supposed best behaviour, what hope do you have that they will treat you kindly when they are not in their best behaviour?

  47. Anjie says:

    Yangki, I can totally relate. As I age, the things I look for and need in a partner has changed. The guy who would have swept me off my feet in my 20s isn’t necessarily the perfect partner for me now in my 40s.

  48. drhoward says:

    I cannot stop saying just how great your advice is. I suggested some time ago that you should have your own TV or radio talk show. I still stand by my suggestion. I also think that you should take part in a contest for one of the best sites online. I personally will campaign for this great site! It has completely changed how I look at love, relationships and women in general. I’m a better man because of you, Ms. Akiteng. Thank you so much!

  49. You just like me… so go ahead and say it. It’s okay. I like you too!…(:

    I appreciate your very kind words and support. As for the talk show, when you find one that will allow me to just be ME and say what’s in my soul without someone telling me who I should be and how I should think… let me know…!!!

  50. drhoward says:

    YES, I like you…grrrh!

  51. Ouch! Don’t worry, it’ll hurt for a while and then you’ll be happy… very happy… even giddy.

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