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November 13th is World Kindness Day: a celebration of kindness and the way it can boost happiness, increase well- being and create togetherness. But did you know that being more kind can be good for your love life too? It’s true! In fact, our anonymous study of 250,000 singles has shown kindness is the trait that Americans want most in a partner.
Kindness is America’s Most-Wanted Partner Trait
It’s clear that kindness matters. Studies have shown that kindness benefits ourselves and others – being kind can improve the length and stability of our relationships,1 increase our sense of well-being and decrease misery,2 and make us feel more optimistic and connected to the world.3 Kindness is also getting its dues, with November 13th dubbed ‘World Kindness Day’ and celebrated around the world as a day to just be kind to each other.
Now, there’s a new reason for singles to embrace kindness: it can also make you more attractive! Our latest anonymous user study shows that Americans are actively looking for kind partners. In fact, of all the partner traits out there, kindness is the most wanted quality of all.
To find this data, we took a random, anonymous sample of 250,000 EliteSingles members who registered with our platform before September 2019. We then looked at how singles in each state ranked various partner traits.
The study revealed that kindness is the most popular partner quality in America; ranking as the most-wanted trait in 20 states plus Washington DC, and as a top-three trait in a further 25 states. In fact, the only states where kindness is not a top-three trait are Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, and North Dakota – and in most of these, kindness comes in fourth place.
States Where Kindness is the Most-Wanted Trait
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- and Washington DC
Don’t see your state listed? Try here: the number one partner trait in your state!
The Cities Where Kindness Matters the Most
As well as looking at desired partner traits on a state level, our study discovered the cities with the highest percentage of singles wanting a kind partner. If you’re a kind person seeking love, and you live in California, you’ll be delighted with the results: not only is Mountain View, CA home to the most kindness-seeking singles in the country, Californian cities account for SIX of the top 10 places on the list. Clearly, in California, kindness is king.
Cities Where Singles Most Want a Kind Partner
- Mountain View, CA
- Cambridge, MA
- Thousand Oaks, CA
- Long Beach, CA
- Laguna Niguel, CA
- Redmond, WA
- Palo Alto, CA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Vienna, VA
- Danville, CA
Women are Especially Interested in Kindness
The study also showed that much of America’s craving for kindness is driven by single women. The overall figure might have 20 states plus DC ranking kindness at #1, but single women are much more enthusiastic. In fact, in 36 states (and DC), women rank kindness as the one thing they most want in partner. Additionally, in 47 states (all but Mississippi, Nebraska, and North Dakota), women have kindness as a top-three pick, while in all 50 states women list kindness in their top five.
So what do single men think about kindness? Although men in DC rank kindness in the top spot, men in the rest of America tend to place traits such as openness and adventurousness in first place. That’s not to say that men dislike kindness – they still value it, just not as strongly as women. It might not be #1, but in 25 states men have kindness as a top-three partner trait. Furthermore, in 49 states it’s a top-five trait, with Delaware the sole exception.
How to Be More Kind this World Kindness Day
Kindness is clearly a wonderful, attractive quality. So, with World Kindness Day right around the corner, how can singles boost kindness in their own lives? We’ve found three actionable ways to be more kind to others – and three ways to be more kind to ourselves.
Three Ways to Be More Kind to Others
Kindness trumps everything. Kind people are magnets for all of the good things in life
– Tom Giaquinto
1. Let people know when you appreciate them
All too often we can be shy dating or awkward about letting people know when we appreciate them. Earnestness makes us feel vulnerable, and so we keep quiet. Yet, if we get complimented it can lift us up with lasting warmth. It’s a wonderful feeling – and it’s worth sharing. Therefore, the kind thing to do is to fight those feelings of vulnerability and spread the joy that comes from being complimented. As long as it comes from a genuine place rather than a rote list, you’ll be changing the recipient’s day for the better. And, on the flipside, if someone compliments you, don’t demur. Just say thank-you. Accept their kindness.
2. Listen well
Another way to be kind to others is to listen to them when they talk. We’re talking true listening here, the kind that is not as easy as you might think! Real listening is a giving act, and it takes a lot of energy and compassion to really listen well. Don’t check your phone, don’t fidget, don’t start planning on how to respond with a story of your own. Instead, try to listen with kindness by really hearing what the person is saying. Lean forward, ask insightful questions and, most importantly, let them finish their train of thought before offering input. Show them that you really see them and hear what they have to say.
3. Try a Random Act of Kindness
Have you heard of the term Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)? It’s the name given to a non-profit foundation that aims to improve the world through thousands of tiny acts of generosity, with those taking part calling themselves RAKtavists. The philosophy behind RAK is that kindness begets kindness. If we do one small thing for someone else, we might inspire them to be kind to a third person – and on and on it goes in a chain reaction of positivity. If we do two small kind acts – and inspire those people help two more – kindness will spread even quicker. Ready to try it out for World Kindness Day? There are a ton of great ideas on the RAK website.
Three Ways to Be More Kind to Yourself
Be kind to yourself as you proceed along this journey. This kindness, in itself, is a means of awakening the spark of love within you and helping others to discover that spark within themselves.
– Tsoknyi Rinpoche
1. Be gentle with yourself
It’s important to be self-aware, yet it is easy for that awareness to tip into cruel self-criticism. We start to use words like ‘stupid’ or ‘ugly’ – harsh words that might feel like a natural stress response, but that can be very damaging. Here’s the thing; if we used language like that on a friend, we’d never expect a positive response. Yet we are all too ready to wield the same words against ourselves. Next time you find yourself caught in a spiral of nasty words, try to take a breath and try a gentler approach. Soothe yourself like you would soothe a friend, and you will gradually find that the impulse for negativity is replaced by an impulse for kindness.
2. Carve out some time just for you
If you’re a single professional your free time is likely at a minimum as you juggle obligations to care for work, family and friends. And, often this means you end up dropping the obligation you have to take care of yourself. While this is also understandable, it’s also unsustainable, as it means you deny yourself the chance to recharge your batteries, and eventually run out of the juice you need to help others. Think of it like an oxygen mask: you’re in a better place to help those around you if you take the time to fix your mask first. Try and carve out 15 mins a day to just check in with yourself, say some affirmations, and power up your kindness batteries.
3. Embrace mindfulness
Knowing that you should think kinder thoughts and take time for yourself is one thing. Actually doing it is another. Self-kindness is a skill, and like all skills, it will take a bit of practice to become routine. And that’s where mindfulness can help. Mindfulness is all about embracing the current moment and letting yourself be fully present in whatever you are doing – think mindful work, mindful relaxation, and even mindful dating!
As a tool, mindfulness is incredibly powerful: regular practice can increase compassion and reduce aggression. And it can change your brain so that you find kindness comes more easily.4 Give it a go this World Kindness Day and take the first step towards being more kind every day.
EliteSingles Editorial October 2019
Want to know more about this study? Let us know at [email protected]
Data Source: Anonymous data from 250,000 randomly selected people registered with www.elitesingles.com before September 2019. Results based on each state’s average importance rankings for various partner qualities. Data set limited to areas with 100 or more random responses and 10,000 or more residents. Data used cannot be traced back to the original user.
1. Karyn Hall, Ph.D. The Importance of Kindness. Found in Psychology Today, 17.10.2019: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/pieces-mind/201712/the-importance-kindness
2. Jaime Gruman Ph.D. Being Kind to Others Benefits You. Found in Psychology Today, 17.10.2019: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/dont-forget-the-basil/201806/being-kind-others-benefits-you
3. David Fryburg, M.D. A Visual Diet Rich in Kindness. Found in Psychology Today, 17.10.2019: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-science-kindness/201902/visual-diet-rich-in-kindness
4. What is Mindfulness, found on HeadSpace,18.10.2019 https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness