The Great Battle: Looks vs Personality

Over the past few weeks many of you have commented on how personality is what really matters. After all, looks of course are merely just an outer shell protecting the person inside – call it fancy packaging if you will. Recently I popped into my local Sainsbury’s supermarket and noticed both a large bag of Doritos for £1.49 and a similarly sized bag of ‘Sainsbury’s basic Tortilla Chips’ for 29p. Extraordinarily different on the outside but in truth, completely the same on the inside. This got me thinking about a friend of mine who in recent times has been telling me all about how she’d had to ‘work’ to fall in love with her boyfriend as that instant physical attraction just wasn’t there. So I asked myself the all important question – ‘does your partner always have to be a Dorito’?

In researching this topic I found myself watching a classic episode of Sky Living’s ‘Dating in the Dark’. For anyone not familiar with the show three men and three women enjoy a series of dates in a pitch black room, forging bonds and enjoying undoubted chemistry before choosing who to see in an end of show light reveal. There really isn’t a better way of analysing the subject than watching this show, the outcomes can be truly fascinating at times. I watched as Katie an aspiring Model and Beauty Therapist enjoyed a succession of dates with David, a Policeman who described himself as looking like ‘Shrek’s stunt double’. Although on paper you wouldn’t have placed the two together, David quickly won Katie over with his ‘cheeky chappy’ personality, wit and unquestionable charm. When the two were together it was like watching the unfolding of one of life’s great love stories, they were quite literally inseparable and you could see their excitement at meeting each other away from the dark. However when the lights came on, it was an entirely different story altogether. David looked like he’d just found a winning lottery ticket, Katie on the other hand looked like she was about to vomit. I’m very easy-going by nature but I was honestly rather appalled by Katie’s reaction, so rude, so hurtful, so incredibly unnecessary. I couldn’t quite believe that this girl, beautiful to look at yes, but quite frankly lacking in grace, charisma and apparently any form of manners had the audacity to dismiss this guy so bluntly based on looks alone. Are we really that blinded by looks?

In spite of my annoyance at Katie’s reaction, I must admit I have long championed the importance of physical attraction. Don’t get me wrong I would never judge or dismiss anyone in the moronic way that Katie did but looking back to even my earliest crushes at ten years old, I’d always believed that physical attraction was what sets ‘friends’ and ‘girlfriends’ apart. After all, do we really want to find ourselves in a physical situation with someone we’re not attracted to (not that I was doing anything physical when I was ten of course)? This, however, has always just been my personal opinion and generally it’s very much an ‘each to their own’ kind of subject.

It’s important to remember that what is attractive to some people is not always attractive to others. Put it this way, right now I have a big beard, some girls love it, like really love it, but then I’ll go home to my Mum’s house and my Sister will say “shave that off it’s disgusting…and it’s turning ginger” – not that I’m trying to impress my sister but you see my point.

I do think personality is equally essential though. I don’t believe a truly ‘happy’ relationship can exist without it, but I also don’t think anyone should be berated for saying ‘looks matter’, so long as they go about it in the right way of course. I suppose we also have to think twice before labelling people shallow, shallow to me is the way Katie behaved, not someone who is simply ‘picky’.

When I reflect on some of my own experiences the question of looks over personality becomes even more difficult to answer. In my early 20’s I dated two girls at different times. One was short and slightly ‘podgy’ but with a nice face and a personality to die for and the other, a size zero with the potential to be a catwalk model. The girl with the amazing personality, we had so much in common, music, films, food, absolutely everything, but sometimes we got on in such a way that I quickly found myself falling into what we all know as ‘the friend zone’.

She was pretty there’s no question about that, there are plenty of guys out there who would’ve killed to be with her, but there was just something missing for me. The size zero girl, she made me feel like a billionaire with a beauty queen on my arm, but it just wasn’t me, it wasn’t what I wanted. Even she wasn’t what I would class as ‘attractive’ and once again I felt like something was missing. So what does that say about me? Are men just impossible to please? Maybe things just aren’t as clear-cut as valuing one quality over another. Maybe we only truly know what we’re looking for once we find it? 

As for my crisp selection, I bought both and mixed them up – couldn’t taste the difference.


64 thoughts on “The Great Battle: Looks vs Personality

  1. “So what does that say about me? Men are impossible?”

    Yes. 🙂

    I’m kidding, it’s a fascinating subject. I think men and women are both hardwired to seek physical attraction, men perhaps a bit more. However, it’s mostly in our brains, patterns, thoughts we’ve laid down, pre-conceived notions. People talk about love being in your heart, but a surprising amount is actually in our heads.

    I don’t think we should call people shallow, either, not unless they really are shallow, like your Katie example. Men tend to get a lot of flack for allegedly “objectifying women” and it’s not really fair, because it’s just biology. Nobody ever talks about how women objectify men, but we do. We make instant judgments based on physical appearance all the time. Height is fairly common one, shorter men often have to work a bit harder to overcome that first impression.

    1. Haha no you’re right men are a bit impossible. I really appreciate your thoughts on this as I found this a little more difficult to write than I first imagined, you find yourself being constantly torn between the two qualities and I guess there’s no easy answer, maybe it’s just all about balance. And yeah I do think we’re all guilty of being picky but then I don’t really see anything wrong with that, you only get one life and if you’re going to spend it with one person then you’ve every right to make sure it’s the right person for you as an individual.
      Thanks for reading really means a lot.

  2. I love this piece! I would rather enjoy a personality than the view. People become attractive through personality the same as they can become the ugliest person ever. People can lose beauty, money, things but if you love someone for who they are you’ve won the lottery ha ha 🙂

    1. You make a great point, I can’t stop thinking about this one actually it was pretty difficult to write but as I keep saying maybe we all need to just focus on what we as individuals want in a partner and leave everyone to it. Thanks for reading it really means a lot! Paul

      1. Of course! I’ve truly loved reading everyone’s posts on here, connecting with people. I hope more people realize what is actually important for the long haul. I feel like people create this outer self and feel the need to be or look a certain way, be with someone who looks the part. I think that’s why so many people end up unhappy or divorced nowadays.

  3. Short story: A friend of mine introduced me to this guy that she thought was the hottest thing ever.. he was totally not my type, yes, he was good looking but he spends more time getting ready than most women. However, we became friends and he is getting cuter and cuter and cuter every time I talk to him. People get cuter the more you get to know them, people need to stop (including myself) expecting instant chemistry. Besides, I’m in my forties, how outwardly beautiful can I still be?

    1. I totally agree with you on that. People absolutely get better looking the more we get to know them. A great personality can make an average looking person into a hottie. I don’t discount instant chemistry either but that isn’t enough to build a relationship.

      You can still be amazingly beautiful in your 40’s! I’m 46 and I feel I look better now than I ever have before but part of that is I kicked my low self esteem to the curb.

  4. This is such a great subject!!!! I would always prefer a great personality, but you definitely have to be attracted to the person your with, otherwise you may as well just be friends. There needs to be a good balance. And vice versa, you shouldn’t stay with somebody just because they’re attractive but you have nothing in common. Freya

      1. Aw! Thanks Paul. This is amazing! It’s certainly put a smile on my face 🙂

        PS: I’m so glad I stumbled over your blog. You have a real talent for writing and I have enjoyed your topics of choice! You are breath of fresh air!

  5. I think it might be a case of Goldilocks and the three bears. Both looks and personality matter but finding someone who is the ideal in only one of those categories isn’t enough. But then, what do I know, I’m very much still looking for someone who is “just right.” Great post!

  6. This whole article just automatically brings up something I’ve said a million times. Looks mean nothing if you’re an asshole. Yes, I think to an extent there needs to be a little attraction there but then you may find if you’re getting along so well with a person and you click with them, there will be little things that you start to notice and find physically attractive that you never noticed before. I’ve known a lot of women who dated ridiculously attractive guys/girls and they’ve all been sat there at the end of it saying to me in tears, ‘how did I end up with such an asshole?’ The best looking aren’t always the best people.

  7. I want both, to be honest 🙂 For me, attraction happens when I have a real connection with someone I find good-looking. I could talk to them endlessly, I can be myself around them, we could do anything, or nothing, and I’d enjoy just being around them. That’s when I fall.

    Without physical attraction, they’re just a friend, surely? I actually tried dating a good friend once but without that attraction it just didn’t work. Affection isn’t the same as real, romantic chemistry 🙂

  8. Great article… perhaps it is about the personality being congruent with the looks. So long as we are aware of what we’re doing… the people we dismiss or have as friends, lovers, etc. based on looks alone… I enjoy your writing! 🙂

  9. In my opinion, looks can be deceiving. You can’t always tell what’s going on inside a person from outside. People put on a brave face when they’re trying to get over something. I loved your piece about this topic.

  10. Each to their own, but I’m with you on this. Physical attraction without a deeper connection is just as tangible as deeper connection without physical attraction. Sometimes you just can’t check all the boxes, that’s life. Better to wait for the full compliment as opposed to settling for a lesser version of what you want though right? It works both ways too, I will not be a perfect 10 for every man I meet (my questionable cooking skills make sure of that) but that’s just how the cookie crumbles!
    By the way I love, love, love reading your stuff!

    1. Yeah I totally agree, I don’t think I could really date someone who didn’t tick all the boxes now, the thought of ‘settling’ for something less than what makes you really happy is really scary to me. Thank you so much can’t tell you how much that means to me, glad you enjoyed 🙂 keep in touch. Paul

  11. I definitely agree with what you say about not knowing what we’re looking for until we find it. I think we had preconceived ideas of what type of person we’re looking for, who we’d be best suited to, and we are attracted to people who we believe have those qualities. Obviously it’s easy to look like one type of person if you really wanted to, which is why when people don’t have the personality we thought they had, they start to get a little bit less attractive.
    It is essentially an unanswerable question, because when you say both are important, it’s often seen as a cop out. I do agree with some of the other answers about needing to have some form of physical attraction for something more than a relationship to form, but I also liked the comment about how you start noticing smaller, attractive things about people the more you get to know them.
    Great post, and I loved the Dorito comparison!

  12. I actually lived the situation you described watching on that show…sort of. I met a man online, we started chatting a bit, exchanged A LOT of email – I was hooked by his personality in a big way. One day, after realizing we only lived an hour apart, I offered him my phone number. Once we started talking on the phone, things really took off. On paper he was nearly perfect, personality wise he was absolutely perfect for me.

    After 6 weeks of talking daily via email and nightly for HOURS, we decided to meet. My friends thought I was insane because I told them all that I was hooked on this guy. I said that as long as he wasn’t a 2ft tall troll with warts, I would likely bang him that night. I meant that…he was so amazing to me that I really felt he could be the one and my only fear was that maybe I wouldn’t measure up. I even conceded to my friends that I still would bang him if he was 2 ft tall…as long as he didn’t have a warty face.

    As he walked toward me, my heart damn near stopped. He was so attractive to me I couldn’t think. I felt like I got hit with lightening, my first coherent thought was “shit I should have bought condoms”. He felt the same way and did stop and buy condoms. LOL Most people see an average guy when they look at him, I see so much more. There is absolutely no man more handsome or more sexy to me.

    Now, I’m pretty sure he and I would have connected had we met randomly. It would likely have just been a hook up because neither of us was on the market for a relationship at the time. I really believe that getting to know him as a person first – changed our fate. We’ve been together since that first night over 6 1/2 years ago and married almost 5 years.

    1. This sounds a little like my husband and myself. Although because it was back in the internet age and we met via a friend on MySpace, I knew what he looked like and knew he was extremely attractive straight off. But before I started talking to him, I had no idea what his personality was going to be like. He could have been a complete douche for all I knew. But we got chatting and seemed to get along really well. That went on for about 2 years before we decided to meet up and when we finally got face to face it was just the easiest conversation I’ve ever had, you’d think we’d met a million times already. He was in a relationship at the time so I kept well away in that respect, one thing I never have done and never will do is cheat, so I had to wait for another year before we finally actually gave it a shot. 5 years of dating and 3 years of marriage later I think it’s safe to say [thankfully] that his personality matched up to his looks.

  13. Interesting read. Looks vs. personality…. I think it’s a bit more complicated than that (obviously, as your experience illustrates!) It’s a tricky combination of looks and personality that leads to attraction…. it’s fascinating, really.

  14. Looks are transient. Personality isn’t. Personality isn’t a superficial aspect. I think its something inherent with us humans. We tend to prefer good looks. Our mind plays tricks on us maybe. Or the hormones…haha…the thing about attraction!

    Great article to ponder over 🙂

  15. Hysterical… as always… and super honest. Yes, men are impossible… so are women. What we find attractive has different layers. Our culture teaches us some and then we give it our own final touches. Life is complicated and humans, we learn to take shortcuts, when looking for a mate (even short term) what we see is a shortcut to making a decision and unfortunately we probably miss out on some amazing relationships for doing this but alas most of us do. It’s human nature and human nature is a bit nuts. Great topic!

  16. For me, personally, I am attracted to people who have a good personality. But I understand what you mean when you say that if you have too much in common, it tends to end up feeling more of a friendship-type relationship. Opposites do sometimes attract, but it’s tough to be in a relationship with someone who you have nothing in common with. It can be difficult to find that middle ground, for sure. If someone is smart, can make me laugh, don’t take themselves too seriously, but know when to be serious; if they are someone that I can talk to for hours about interesting things or about nothing at all, and can still have a great conversation with them, then that is someone that I’ll likely be attracted to, regardless of their looks. I’ve been with people of different races, short, tall, extremely good-looking, average-looking, overweight, skinny, etc. Honestly, I tend to be less attracted to really handsome men. And maybe that’s because a lot of really handsome men that I’ve met have been royal jerks… lol.

  17. Physical attractiveness is the initiator in most relationships. It’s what draws a person to another, if they don’t know each other. So you can’t completely disregard looks because they do a play a part in bringing people together.

    However, if your personality is disgusting then there is really no chance, even if you look like a male model. Your attractiveness will slowly fade away.

  18. Great to hear this debate from a male perspective- very much enjoyed! From personal experience a great personality can actually change the way you look at a person on the outside. How many times have we been physically attracted to someone only to find that they are completely not right for us? Keep writing, love it!

    1. Yeah you’re quite right, was a tough one to write about you keep finding yourself trying to justify your choices but thank you for reading and thank you so much for your kind comments really means a lot. Paul

  19. This is a brilliantly written piece of writing. It is so relatable to both genders and I love the connection to chips, so clever! I completely agree with every single word of this post, looks are just as important as personality, it is not about finding one or the other, it is about finding a combination which works for you ! Your post demonstrates this perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring piece!

    1. Jessica you’ve just made my day thank you so much for your comments. It was a tough one to write about, sometimes it’s hard to admit that looks matter to you without being labelled shallow but yeah I think it’s about getting the right balance more than anything. Thanks again for reading, keep in touch. Paul

  20. Attraction and personality and all that can be such tricky things. I definitely agree someone’s personality can make them more attractive (and like you said, “attractive” is very subjective and everyone finds different people attractive or not) so I struggle when dating sometimes between being able to tell if I’m just flat out not attracted to the guy or if I’m not giving them enough of a chance. I think you kind of hit the nail on the head though, I think maybe we don’t even know what we’re looking for until we find it!

  21. Men are more supeficial than women when it comes to looks. Once a man can make a woman laugh his appearance isn’t important. I’ve learned that jut because the packaging is attractive doesn’t meant the inside is.

  22. smart choice with the mixing of tortilla chips. yeah, branding is just branding. but if only we could do the same with people. in real life, we have to CHOOSE one or the other. though some would prefer to date both without them both knowing it.

  23. I really liked this article. I think that physical attraction definitely helps, but I also think that people can grow on you. I dated my ex for two years, and he’s not your stereotypical image of handsome, or what I would’ve thought I would date at all. But the truth is he was very sweet and thoughtful and won me over that way. Eventually, I found him attractive simply because he was the person he was. He grew on me! 😛 Hehe. I realize that doesn’t happen for most people, but it is possible.

  24. Hey! so first of all, you’re a great writer! congrats, I’ve really enjoyed reading this, especially because I found out about this dating in the dark show like a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was pretty genius, because I mean, I’m not the kind of person that chooses looks over personality, I couldnt stand a day with an anoying, or boring guy even if that guy was freakin’ Kit Harington, but we’ve got to admit that the first thing that actually attracts us to people is their looks, and then you might talk to the person and that person either becomes uglier or better looking based on their conversation, and the kind of stuff they’re into,
    I mean at least that’s what happens to me. Still I think looks will always matter at least a bit even if that personality is great is just the nature of the human being, the simple fact that we enjoy looking and being around anything that it’s beautiful to our sight. But, you know, just my humble opinion…

    1. Hey thanks so much for reading. I completely agree with you, as I said in the post looks can be the difference between a romantic relationship and just being friends. Really appreciate your thoughts. Keep in touch 🙂 Paul

  25. I am constantly thinking about this.
    I reluctantly joined a dating website as a little experiment and after a few hours I was “Passing” about 95% of my matches. Most of them seemed like very nice guys, but I also know if the attraction isn’t there for me then my heart won’t really be in it. It’s an important part of a relationship to have both the emotional and physical connection! That being said, I also saw two of my very close guy friends on there and realized that if I didn’t know them personally, I would’ve passed them (and they are attractive!) It made me realize I was more than likely passing up really great friendships and potential relationships because most men on this particular website take questionable selfies. Hehe.

    1. Tinder I’m guessing? You’re right though it’s amazing how much we start to question things and how we approach certain subjects when really all that is vein presented to is is a simple yes or no situation, just proves we’re human I think.

  26. Ask…Can I treat this person how they want to be treated and do they treat me as I want to be treated? As far as looks people can be completely transformed in 3 months depending on where they’re at and if they want to be. It’s not about what you get out of it…it’s about what you put into it and if both people have that attitude things will go smashingly.

  27. Loved reading this. This can be a real struggle especially since a large part of media and society focus on “looks” more than personality. Just recently discovered your blog and I think its fantastic. Thanks for writing.

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