I’m 21, and most people around me are either in a relationship or looking for a relationship, and in talking to people and thinking myself I’ve noticed some patterns. One of those patterns is what the most attractive quality in a person is.
I was never any good at the dating game. I got married to the first guy I dated, so I really don’t have much experience. Nonetheless, I have had a lot of experience with people, and with lots of people who are dating, have liked people, and who are married. And you know what? There really is a common thread of what girls and guys both find attractive. And that’s what we’re talking about today, because it’s something we don’t talk about enough.
I mean, sure. We all like people who are physically attractive, but the opinion of what makes for the ideal look changes from person to person. And yes, we all like someone with a good sense of humour, but what a good sense of humour is also changes from person to person.
There is one thing, though, that stays constant. And here it is:
The most attractive quality you can have is independence.
There are three different kinds of independence here that are important: emotional independence, financial independence, and spiritual independence.
I’ll explain each of these to show you what I mean.
Before I met Connor, although I didn’t actually get into a relationship with anyone, there were some guys that I was interested in, and they were interested in me. We got talking, and it would go great and I’d get all excited and then–
Boom. They got clingy.
This happened so often, and it made me so disappointed for the guy in question. Can’t he see that he had been doing everything right until he started texting me every single day, constantly fishing for compliments? Didn’t he realize that I totally would have gone out with him if he hadn’t been constantly bugging me to go out and play soccer with him because I mentioned once that I find it fun?
The problem with emotional dependence is that it places too many demands on the person you’re trying to woo. In a relationship, no one wants to feel like the other is dependent on them. Of course it’s lovely to feel needed, but not in a needy way. When you’re still just in the flirting phase, no one wants to feel like the relationship is going to cause more work than fun.
On the flip side, being emotionally independent is one of the most attractive qualities you can have. This is because the other person is free to just be around you and have fun without having to take responsibility for your emotional well-being. That person knows that you’re alright and don’t need to be taken care of, which gives him/her the freedom to just get to know you for you, and not feel used as a self-esteem boost.
Some of you may have a hard time pin-pointing what that looks like, so I’ve put together a few trends I’ve noticed:
3 habits emotionally independent people have:
- They respect boundaries. If you say you’re busy, they get that you’re busy. They don’t push it.
- They can limit contact to a healthy amount. They don’t need to text every day, but focus on the quality rather than quantity of time.
- They are smart about how much they share with people. They get that telling a person their deepest secrets and dreams can make one feel very connected, but it’s a false connection that is entirely one-way. They allow these conversations to happen organically instead of forcing them.
Ok, so this doesn’t actually mean what it sounds like it means. If you are still receiving money from your parents or from loans because you’re in school, you don’t need to worry! You can still be financially pseudo-independent! (That’s where I was when I met Connor.)
All this means is that you’re responsible enough to have a plan to be able to provide for yourself. You aren’t going to be a leech on the other person, and you aren’t entitled and don’t expect to work. Rather, having a financially independent mindset means looking forward to a future where you won’t have to accept money from your parents to pay for tuition and you’ll be able to pay off your loans. It means not letting yourself fall into consumer debt because you want to remain independent of those fees by acting responsibly with your money. The reason this is one part of the most attractive quality you can have is that it shows you want to be your own person. This shows that you know “I’d be OK if I was on my own. I’m doing just fine.” That kind of mindset is gold in a partner, because that shows that they are willing to work with you to achieve a goal, rather than feel entitled to have you provide for them their whole lives.
*NB: deciding to have one member be the sole financial provider is a different story. I’m not talking about people who choose that one member will stay home and the other will work. I’m talking about couples where one person just assumes that the other will take care of them.
As Christians, we want to find someone whose faith is truly their own, not just something they grew up with. As well, spiritually independent people are able to question theological teachings they hear and truly work out for themselves what they believe the Bible says.
Now, there’s a difference between going through a questioning period (which is healthy, I believe, if you’re grappling with something) and not knowing what you believe. One is the result of contemplation, the other of complacency. Complacency means that the person hasn’t made his/her faith personal, but is just going along with the current.
The problem with spiritual dependence is that one person starts to see the other as a saviour. And that’s just never healthy. Similar to emotional dependence, that’s asking something of your partner that he/she was just never meant to fulfill. Spiritually independent people, on the other hand, rely on God more than on people. This is because they have grappled with their faith so fervently that they have figured out what God really means to them, and see Him as their saviour, a role that no relationship can fulfill.
You may still disagree with me, but I maintain that independence is the most attractive quality anyone can have. No matter how hot or how funny some people are, if they’re emotionally needy, spiritually wishy-washy or financially entitled, I’m not sure that they could maintain a healthy relationship.
The truth is, though, that many of these issues stem from one sole, greater problem: a lack of a sense of self. It’s not that these people could never make good boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses–it’s that they don’t understand how wonderful they truly are!
If you find that you struggle feeling independent of others emotionally, financially, or spiritually, I’d really recommend taking a while and just praying that God will show you His plan for your life, or give you a glimpse into how he sees you. I think you’ll be amazed at how wonderful he thinks you are.
What do you think the most attractive quality a person can have is?
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