I used to think it was necessary to play “Perfect Steve” on a first date.
Perfect Steve was totally relaxed. Perfect Steve was effortlessly successful: great degree, great job, money wasn’t an issue (even if in truth he barely had any).
Perfect Steve pretended he had an immaculate apartment. He was probably going to start a multi-million dollar business any day now. Or write a bestselling novel.
In your early twenties, you want to hide the crappy parts of yourself. You’re terrified of the cracks in your personality, so you make up for it by puffing up, bouldering through with bravado and confidence.
But then when you want a relationship, you realise it’s impossible unless you’re naked, at least for some of the best bits.
So attraction stops being about being “perfect”. You realise it’s about how you handle your imperfections.
And what else?
What is it that makes some people so much more appealing than others (beyond visual looks)?
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about bringing incredible value to someone’s world.
Some ways we can do this:
1. Paint a compelling future
We don’t have to have huge ambition. We just need to show we’re going somewhere exciting. People are inherently attractive when they see the road ahead as bright, fun, joyful, full of good friends and food and art and new horizons.
People want to jump in the boat with us when the ride looks fun and the destination gives you tingles.
2. Be easy in your flaws, but confident in your strengths
Attractive people don’t dwell on the bad. They accept it. Laugh about it. Make it into a joke instead of a burden.
We all have a past. We all have truths about ourselves that hurt. But if we can absorb that, own it, wear it like armour, it doesn’t define us.
Then we have to also know, “I’m also pretty f**king great at stuff too”. It’s sexy to watch someone who has things they know they do well and cares deeply about improvement.
3. Bring joy to every party
There’s nothing more attractive than people who give freely: they bring jokes and energy and good feelings to any room they walk into. They show curiosity. They are thoughtful and give people praise in public. They don’t seek to look at what they can get out of everyone else, they just give without expectation.
You don’t have to be the loudest, or a walking ball of charisma. You just need to be someone who sprinkles more happiness around than you take.
4. Have more than one weapon
No-one can be one thing all the time.
It’s the people who mix attractive qualities that become irreplaceable. Strong and caring? Intellectual and flirtatious? A gentleman who’s also hilarious and silly?
When we cultivate different sides of our personality, it’s this combination that makes us truly stand out in a world of stereotypes.
If we obsess over just being ONE aspect of our character, we get a mutation. It becomes our sole source of validation. We become a one-trick pony.
Long-term attraction doesn’t mean trying to be everything, but it does mean keeping the element of surprise and showing you’re more than just one thing.