Helping Others is Sexy

Want to meet women? Who might even be interested in you? Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Or raise money for the United Way. Or at least shovel your neighbour’s sidewalk. Not only would that make you a good guy, you can actually meet someone.

A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science has found that engaging in ‘pro-social behaviour’ (i.e., doing positive and helpful things for your fellow man) “ . . . in any given year was associated with increased odds of finding a partner and entering into a romantic relationship in the following year.”

Researchers used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, which is an annual survey conducted since 1984. Part of the survey asks respondents how often they engaged in things like volunteering, helping their neighbours, and doing things altruistically. Researchers found that, of single people who reported engaging in pro-social behaviour, 14% changed their status to married or ‘have a steady partner’ by the time of the next survey.

The researchers write “In any given time period, individuals reporting a high frequency of pro-social behaviour were more likely to indicate a relationship status change from single to partnered than their less pro-social counterparts. For every one-point increase in the frequency of helping behaviour, the likelihood of being in an intimate relationship in the subsequent year was between twenty-five per cent and forty-six per cent higher.”

What’s at play here? Researchers credit evolutionary psychology, saying that volunteering and other pro-social behaviour “may represent a ‘courtship display’ that signals the presence of good character, or good parenting qualities.” We’ll also point out that there aren’t many places to meet a lot of people once you’re past about twenty-five.



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