Are your interests … interesting?

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Your online dating profile is made up of two key components; words and pictures. We’ll save the picture perspective for another blog, and today let’s focus on your words.  Specifically, the things you say about yourself. You might remember we talked about the eHarmony Relationship Study last year and one of the key findings related to what Aussies are looking for in a partner – namely, shared values, common interests and someone to share a laugh with.

We are going to hone in on the second point, interests.

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Now, I’ll wait here while you quickly check your profile – what have you listed as your interests?

Got them?  Good.  Keep your listed interests in mind as you read this blog.

The latest eHarmony research delved into the topic of interests and asked ‘which interests are most interesting to men and women?’ The study tracked the profiles that received the most traffic and correlated this with the interests they had listed.

What was found?

According to the findings, the most popular males had interests in:

  • Politics
  • Travel
  • Health
  • Exercise
  • Food
  • Theatre
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And the most popular females were interested in:

  • Personal growth
  • Health
  • Exercise
  • Food
  • Family
  • Dancing

“What does this all mean?”, I hear you ask…

We looked to one of eHarmony’s research gurus in The USA , Jonathan Beber, for answers. Drawing on an evolutionary psychology perspective, we learned that this trend in attraction to male and female interests is not surprising. These differences can be seen across multiple species, in which the women are looking for a potential mate that will care for the family, and men are looking for the ideal partner to pass along their genes with.

A Word on Evolutionary Psychology

“For women, men find it most attractive, and we see an increase in communication requests, when women describe themselves as having an interest in health and exercise, food, family, and dancing. But why? Men are looking for a woman who will be a healthy and attractive partner to mate with, to pass along their genetics with, basically. Males of many species are looking for the optimal potential partner that will be able to carry their offspring and pass their good physical traits genes on to create the best possible offspring.”

“For men, women are more attracted to men who have interests in politics, traveling, health and exercise, food, theatre, and learning. The reason they like these traits in a man also goes back to evolutionary psychology: women are looking for a potential mate that will be a good provider and protector of the family. Showing an interest in politics, theatre, and learning may show higher intelligence, which in turn can mean that the men will be better caregivers, pass on the higher intelligence genes to their offspring, and be able to provide for the family with a better job.”

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So, does this mean you should go back to your profile and change your interests to reflect the more popular choices?

NO.

My advice is for both men and women to be open and honest in your profiles. Whilst some interests may be seen as more popular than others, what really counts is compatibility. Interests alone do not determine long term relationship happiness, in fact, sometimes it’s great to have complementary interests. Take the opportunity to highlight the activities you participate in that link to your highest values, the stuff that really matters to you. This will ensure you attract matches with the right combination of interests, values and personality.

This research is helpful in that it will enable you to be more aware of WHY you are attracted to certain interests on a potential date’s profile. It tells us that, despite thousands of years of evolution, we are still quite traditional when it comes to love and sex-role stereotypes. But the most important point here is to use your profile as a tool to communicate the REAL YOU – your values, interests, hopes and dreams (and … some great photos).

Happy Dating!

By Melanie SchillingPsychologist and Dating Coach

What interests are listed on your profile and what do they say about you as a person? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to learn more about dating, love & relationships!

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