The dating game

March 24, 2011, 11:38 PM GMT+0

Non-physical attributes dominated the top three things people would like to be complimented on by a potential love interest, with the highest numbers saying that they would much prefer to be recognised for their kindness and generosity rather than their smile, eyes or figure, our YouGov/Slimming World survey reveals.

  • 18% would be most flattered by a prospective partner admiring their kindness and generosity
  • 17% would prefer a well-placed comment about how intelligent they are
  • Whereas 13% would like to be complimented on their sense of humour
  • The least popular focuses of flattery were style or dress sense (3%), comments about weight loss (2%) and hairstyle, with only 1% of people opting for this

And it seems the trend continues with age, as the older you are, the more likely you are to prefer a compliment about your generosity compared to one about your figure.

  • A quarter (25%) of people aged over 55 would be most flattered by a date commenting on how generous they are, while only 11% of 18-24 year olds felt the same way
  • On the flip side, 19% of 18-24 year olds want their date to admire their figure in contrast to 5% of the over 55s who shared this priority
  • Elder and younger people felt roughly the same about intelligence, however, with 16% of 18 to 24 year olds, and a statistically similar 19% of over 60s saying they would be flattered by such a compliment

Personality over looks

Giving the object of your affections a compliment may be a well-known dating technique but revelations in the dating industry have re-opened the debate on this classic gesture in recent years. Journalist Neil Strauss revealed the step-by-step techniques of male dating experts in his now infamous book The Game, which include avoiding complimenting a woman you are interested in early on, and stipulate that any flattery towards a potential love interest should never focus on the way she looks. And although such kinds of rigid dating strategies have come under criticism from those who see such prescribed rules as manipulative, it seems that cynical as they seem, such rules may in fact work on a public which would indeed prefer to be recognised for personality than looks.

See the survey details and full results