Storytelling Makes Men Attractive
Everyone knows dating isn’t easy.
Every girl wants to know where the good guys have gone, and the guys want to know how to impress all the ladies. Recently, new research took a look at an age old technique to see how it holds against more traditional factors.
Men may want to take note. It seems that being able to tell a good story can increase your attractiveness without changing your looks or increasing your bank account.
Spinning a Yarn
When men try to impress women, we think they want more physique, fancier clothes, faster cars, better looks, more money, and prestigious jobs.
Women may even want a man who can listen and communicate well, since these too are excellent traits for long term relationships.
When you think of someone who communicates well, though, you wouldn’t really think about how well they tell a story.
Two psychologists – whose work was published in the journal Personal Relationships – found that women are more attracted to men who can tell stories well as opposed to those who can’t.
The researchers conducted three separate experiments that had participants rate different aspects of a member of the opposite sex, including attractiveness and their potential for casual dating, friendship, or a long term partner.
One study presented participants with pictures along with bios. Those bios gave information how storytelling ability while others didn’t. Another study had participants read actual stories with some being bad, while others were good. A third experiment had subjects rate the individual profiles as being perceived as popular, admired, or having good leadership.
The scientists found that participants who were looking for long term partners rated those with better storytelling ability as more attractive.
However, they also found that for casual dating, storytelling ability did not give men an edge. In other words, if women were thinking friendship, or short term dating, there was no advantage to being able to tell stories well.
Why Does Storytelling Increase Attractiveness?
So what’s going on here. Why would stories increase attractiveness for long term, but not short term potential? And does it affect men in the same way?
The researchers believe it comes down to how storytelling can affect our view of a person’s status, which was tested in one of the studies. The higher a person’s perceived status, the more attractive we’ll find a person.
A big part of that comes from our evolutionary background. The researchers write:
“…women desire good storytellers because storytelling ability reflects a man’s ability to gain resources.
Good storytellers may be more likely to influence others, or to gain positions of authority in society.”
The study didn’t test for the specific reasons as to why storytelling increases a man or woman’s perceived status. But there are some theories.
It may be seen as a signal of experience, knowledge, or influence. All things a women would value when looking for long term partners. It’s also possible storytellers may be seen as having stronger leadership qualities, confidence, intelligence or charisma.
Does this work both ways?
The study found that it’s a one way street, sorry ladies. While both men and women were seen to have higher status, women who told better stories weren’t more attractive to men.
From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. Men wouldn’t look for the same things in a mate that women would.
We all love a good story, partially because it engages our emotions. Research also shows we find creativity sexy.
While these stories were not done in person, it would be interesting to see the results done in a real world situation.
Telling stories face to face would require a much different approach, but as such it may also have more powerful effects. We’ll have to wait and see if some aspiring psychologist takes this to the field.
In the meantime, fellas may want to forget the pickup lines and instead learn how to narrate their experiences with a well told story. Making them the hero of their own story, of course.