Kindness, a problem in choosing a partner

The choice of a partner is one of the most taken decisions, to which we seem to give more importance and one of the most consequences.

True compatibility is hard to come by, however, and some might say that many couples seem to be born out of a bad decision. So if the choice of mate is so important, Why do these elections go so often wrong?

Kindness seems to be a stumbling block when choosing a partner

Much of the psychological studies on this subject take fixed characteristics as variables, such as the level of wealth, objective data about the physique, etc. However, we must also take into account variables that intervene in the field and which exist only in the personal relationship that we have with others. Is there something about this way of reporting that influences us when it comes to building romantic relationships? We already have studies what a point in that direction.


A research team from the University of Toronto concluded that one of the explanations for an unfortunate mate choice could be, counted and debated, the following: we are too nice.

Rejecting someone is a difficulty that you aren’t always ready to overcome, and empathy (or cordiality, kindness, or courtesy) can make us very open to the possibility of dating people of all kinds. even those that are incompatible with us.

Taking as a starting point the case that human beings have social tendencies that lead us to put ourselves in the other’s shoes and to be friendly with others (or, to put it another way, to avoid conflicts), the team carried out an experiment. to observe how this predisposition to empathy affected when choosing a partner. To do this, they invited several men and women as experimental subjects, all single and interested in dating. Each of them, individually, saw three profiles with various data on three different people.

The experimental subject then decided which of these three profiles was the most desirable as a possible rendezvous. Once this was done, the experimental subject was given more information about the person he had chosen: it was a set of data among which there are characteristics that the person previously designated as exclusive, that is that is, they eliminate the person who has these qualities as a possible partner.

Once this information was received, the person was asked if they would be interested in contacting the person described in the reports. In other words, if they were interested in having the chance to date her.

The importance of looking good

However, from this point the experiment was divided into two variations. Some people have been told that the possible half-orange is there, in the lab, in an adjoining room. Another group of participants was asked to imagine that this person was in the next room.

This means that one group of participants were more conditioned by empathy than the other, feeling that personal closeness with someone who, at least on paper, did not meet the desired characteristics.

Were the results different in the two groups?

Clearly different. In the group of those who had only to imagine the proximity of the other person, hardly 17% of participants said they wanted to see the other person.

however, in the group of those who thought they had the other person close, more than a third agreed. Additionally, when asked what prompted them to make this decision, scientists found a combination of self-interest and a spirit of generosity. The concern for the feelings of the other clearly influenced, to the detriment of the predisposition to reject possible partners.

However, it is not clear that this trend should be a source of discontent. Of course, it can be if empathy masks significant incompatibilities that come to light as the relationship progresses, to the point where these issues take on more importance than the desire not to hurt the other. On the other hand, it can also lead to romantic relationships where there was a priori only prejudices and banal ideas about what the ideal partner should look like, which in turn would gradually build empathy and emotional ties. Like in many other things, time seems to be a deciding factor in evaluating a personal relationship.

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