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Having a sense of purpose makes you more likely to find love 

In the ever-evolving landscape of online dating, a new study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that having a sense of purpose in life is an important aspect of attracting a partner. 

The research highlights the potential for deeper connections when individuals pursue their passions and meet others with similar drives and goals.

Sense of purpose 

The study sheds light on the impact of showcasing a sense of purpose in dating app profiles. 

The researchers explored this concept through a unique study. They investigated how individuals with a pronounced sense of purpose are perceived on dating platforms. 

“In general we found people with a higher purpose were considered to be more romantically attractive,” said study lead author Isabella D’Ottone. 

Dating profiles 

For the investigation, the research team created and analyzed nine dating profiles, four of which represented different categories of sense of purpose – prosocial, relationship, financial, and creative orientations – and five control profiles with no indicated purpose. The profiles were evaluated by 119 participants for various attractiveness measures. 

Key findings 

The results revealed that profiles demonstrating a sense of purpose, regardless of the category, were consistently rated higher in attractiveness. This finding was especially pronounced when the participant shared the same purpose orientation as the profile.

However, the team noted an exception in the financial orientation category. Profiles with a financial purpose were not as favorably received unless the evaluating participant also valued financial goals. 

“In general, looking at all the purpose profiles, people were not as attracted to the financially oriented person,” said D’Ottone. This suggests that while a sense of purpose is generally appealing, the specific nature of that purpose can influence its attractiveness.

Chasing your passions 

D’Ottone, now a research associate at the University of Miami, emphasized the broader implications of their findings. She noted that this isn’t about faking a passion for something but, maybe finding love where you don’t expect it. 

Chasing a special someone may end with a mismatch, “but chasing your passions, you might find that person along the way,” explained D’Ottone.

Seeking out people with a purpose 

Professor Patrick Hill noted that this study was a “phenomenal” project for an undergraduate to take on and it builds on the lab’s work on why sense of purpose is connected to better relationships. 

It’s not just about physical attraction, but also about recognizing someone who has direction in life, said Professor Hill. “When it comes to attraction, knowing someone has a direction matters.”

D’Ottone’s work speaks to how people are picking up on sense of purpose and factoring that into how they are attracted to others, whether they are aware of that or not, said Professor Hill. “We actually seek out people with a purpose.”

The study is published in the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology

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