Not Having Much Luck with Relationships? Be Humble, Study Finds

Released: 23-Apr-2014 3:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Dick Jones Communications
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Citations Journal of Positive Psychology

Newswise — Researchers found that prospective dating partners who were more humble were viewed as more attractive candidates for a romantic relationship than those less humble. In long-distance relationships, partners who are viewed as humble tended to recover more quickly after offenses than their less humble counterparts, according to research released in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

Researchers at Hope College, Georgia State University and the University of North Texas asked respondents to look over a fake dating profiles and rate them on a seven point scale on likability, friendliness, number of friends, fun, attraction, likelihood of going on a date and potential satisfaction with dating. In one study, respondents were asked to think about the prompt and define if they thought the author showed humility. In a second study, researchers wrote dating profiles that were more humble and less humble.

“What we found is respondents rated the very humble dating partner significantly more favorably than the less humble dating partner,” said Daryl Van Tongeren, assistant professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, MI. “We like being around humble people and, in a relationship setting, having a partner who is interested in further strengthening social bonds is consistently rated as important.”

A third study was developed to test the idea that humility may be important for maintaining and repairing relations. A total of 416 undergraduate students in both proximal relationships and long-distance relationships were asked a series of questions about forgiveness. Results show that unforgiveness after an offense is greater in long-distance relationships than it is in proximal relationships. However, the unforgiveness can be tempered a bit depending on the humility of the individual.

“The more humble the partner, the more that the other partner was willing to forgive them in a long-distance relationship,” said Van Tongeren. “This suggests that humility in a relationship serves the function of encouraging relational repair in ongoing romantic couples.”

This study will be in a forthcoming print edition of the Journal of Positive Psychology.


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