The best way to successfully attract a long-term partner has nothing to do with your physical appearance or what color you choose to wear on a first date. It's way more substantial than that. According to a 2016 study of 390 adults published in the journal Sexuality & Culture, the number one thing that makes a first date successful is good conversation. So if you really want to attract a quality partner who's in it for the long haul, your conversation habits could be key.
"Intellectual chemistry is one-third of a healthy relationship chemistry along with friendship and physical attraction," Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach, Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, tells Bustle. "For some, good conversation weighs more heavily than the other two, for others, not as much. But there always needs to be some measure of it if a relationship is to grow and stay interesting."
Having good conversation habits may be one of the more overlooked traits to have when it comes to attraction. But according to licensed marriage and family therapist, Allen Wagner, LMFT, it really shouldn't be. "Conversation skills are important to any relationship because they play such a key part in a couple’s ability to meaningfully collaborate with one another in the future," Wagner says.
When you're dating with the end goal of being in a committed relationship, it's all about finding a good connection. One of the best ways to tell if you and the other person has a connection is through conversation, so here are some conversation habits of people who successfully attract long-term partners:
1. They're Authentic
People who successfully attract long-term partners don't pretend to be anything they're not. "False impressions and a lack of authenticity only leads to future personalization or disappointment and mistrust," Wagner says. "Most of the time, people can tell embellishments or at the very least they assume." When you know someone's putting up a front, it always has a way of lessening your attraction to them. People who attract long-term partners know to keep it real.
2. They Show Interest By Paying Attention
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that being attentive and asking questions is the key to landing a second date. When a date shows interest by asking questions, it makes a person feel important and most of all, wanted. "Conversations should allow the other person a chance to share who they are, as opposed to comparisons or using the time to showcase your own accomplishments," Wagner says. That's why people who know how to show interest through conversation have the ability to attract long-term, quality partners.
3. They Keep It Positive
"No one wants to be around a negative person," Cindi Sansone-Braff, relationship coach and author tells Bustle. People who attract quality people keep the whining and complaining to a minimum. Instead, they they radiate happiness by talking about their passions, they're encouraging and supportive, and they're hopeful.
"If you practice being a more positive person on a day-to-day basis, you will start attracting other like-minded people," she says. "One of these like-minded people just might be 'The One,' or they might just be the person to introduce you to a potential partner."
4. They Don't Depend On Outside Sources For Boosts Of Confidence
Some people might need a little liquid courage to become a more outgoing version of themselves, but that's not a great long-term solution. "If you want to attract a responsible, sober, hardworking, trustworthy partner, than you are going to have to reflect those qualities yourself," Sansone-Braff says. People who attract successful long-term relationships don't need a drink or two to be more relaxed in social situations.
"If you have a habit of drinking too much because you have social anxiety, and you've come to depend on alcohol to loosen you up, then you might considering going to therapy or find some other coping tools that will help you out in social settings," she says.
5. They Recognize That Being Wrong Is OK
Trying to have a conversation with someone who always has to be right can be super irritating. "Many people desire a long-term relationship without wanting to develop the skillset of being a strong conversationalist," AmyK Hutchens, speaker and author, tells Bustle. "One thing people who attract long-term partners know is being wrong is OK. It encourages further dialogue."
6. They Go Into First Dates Prepared
People who attract successful long-term partners aren't immune to first date nervousness. But according to Rebecca Cooper Traynor, CEO of Match Me Canada, the thing that really sets them apart is the way they prepare for first dates.
"To forge those good conversations which will help you attract a quality romantic partner, it's best to already have an idea as to what you want your match to know about you and what you want to learn about them," Traynor tells Bustle. "...Instead of trying to rock a first date, do a bit of preparation first. If you're comfortable with who you are and generally interested in learning about others then conversations can be quite enjoyable and effortless, even with a perfect stranger."
7. They're Transparent, Open, And Honest
"People can tell when you are either trying to be vague or not really answer a question," Catharine Swain, couples counselor with MyTherapist New Orleans tells Bustle. "It can lead to people either not trusting you, or concerned at how closed off you are being. No one wants to talk to someone when the conversation is one-sided."
If you're someone who gets anxious or awkward when it comes to talking to people you like, certified relationship therapist, Stephen Duclos tells Bustle active listening is your best bet. "Conversation is both receptive and expressive, with the receptive element far more important than the expressive element. In other words, listening is more important than talking. In terms of developing and maintaining a relationship, it's best to focus on what the other person is saying and talk about that — not what's bouncing around in your anxious mind."
Being good at conversations is something you can definitely work on over time. If you work at it slowly by doing the basics like actively listening, being positive, and staying true to yourself, you can develop the conversation habits you need to make better connections.