A few posts ago I asked men and women to come up with the three traits that they most desired in a romantic partner.  I have now made a word cloud of the results. So…here is what women look for….

and here is what men look for….

What do you think?  What are the main differences?


  1. I think one of the problems with these word clouds is that words that are alike (intelligent and intelligence, for example) and words that are synonyms (intelligent and smart, for example) are kept separate. Also, words like ‘and’ are included. Though I suppose the only way to change this would b to manually edit the posts, no?

    Still, they are neat.

    1. yes, manually edit would be necessary (humor vs. humour) to get a perfect cloud.

      To clean the cloud it could be said next time to write the 3 words beneath each other without any additional comment or words like ‘and’.

      To go even further it would make sense to limit to *adjectives only*
      only “funny”, not fun
      only “intelligent”, not “intelligence”

  2. I like that geeky women appear to be fairly popular and nerdy men aren’t too far behind. Is this a common trend a does it reflect only on the blog readers?

    1. Ythaca, I think you are right that the word cloud reflects the personalities of those people likely to read the bog. It is a reflextion of technology literate users who are expressing a preference for people like themselves. Hence the similarity.

  3. great post. you have to read behind the words to understand what the genders are saying. when women say “funny” they don’t mean “funny”… which is actually not a trait that generally relates to strength and a stronger mate (most comedians are losers). what they mean by funny is a lighter personality that doesn’t take life so seriously. they certainly aren’t looking for a dry type of humor. they mean something other then the word funny.

    same goes for the men who really aren’t asking for intelligence. they are asking for empathy and respect that doesn’t patronize.

    …and finally of course all these desire for traits are if the superficial stuff is taken care of… money and physical traits.

    studies have been made regarding the Genders and it was found that both genders are influenced by visual stimulations (this contradicts general popular opinion that only men are looking for physical traits). however the women are looking for body gestures that convey strength… while men are looking directly at a woman’s face… that conveys her fertility.

    when women say funny… they really mean confidence
    when men say intelligence they are correlating a desire for facial approval which is what they are libidinally drawn to. men looking at a girls posterior or breasts first is a complete myth

    1. You’re right… and not.

      To address just one point: Both men and women rate “sense of humor” quite highly in what attracts them. And you’re right, the way we define that phrase differs.

      By “sense of humor”, women mean they look for men who can make them laugh.

      By “sense of humor”, men look for women who laugh at their jokes.

    2. I’m *NOT* both right and wrong. that would be a contradiction in logic.
      What I mean to say… (which I think you missed) is that people aren’t saying what they really want… in the same way you aren’t saying what you want right now @ButMadNNW. your response is merely another libidinal gender reaction. Women generally are *NOT* looking for a sense of humor. They say they do, but as someone who grew up in NY and LA and knows plenty of professional “Comedians” who are not as famous as Jerry Seinfeld I assure you that women are not saying what they want. The top quality or attribute that women want is by no means a “sense of humor”. If it was then a lot of starving Comedians would be doing a lot better in their love life. and Men are certainly not looking for “Intelligence”. Wake up and smell the coffee. the GENDERS will never be honest because revealing their intentions. no body is exactly the same, but no serious scientist would take the results here seriously. …of course.. with Global Warming and Gloria Steinem politically slanted Porn statistics from the 70s will attest to historically… who knows what the cultural gender snobs will attest to this week. The Gender fascist are social engineers of a religion and they create their “science” as it goes along. this Lysenkoism next week will put every 14 year old boy on Prozac as the Hilary Clinton pant suit parade pushes a gender slanted stimulus bill. I’m sure you thing that women actually are looking for a “sense of humor” when in fact they are looking for a bully to do their bidding.
      All opinions must submit to the Donna Hanover and the Vagina Monologues…. dare we question the Gloria Steinem state?

    3. I know too many miserable clowns. making people laugh scares the ladies away usually. why don’t you just go backstage and ask a comedian? a male one preferably… because if you ask Margaret Cho and you are likely to lose your genitals

  4. @Noah – I beg to differ with you. When I say funny, I mean someone who can make me laugh not someone who has a lighter personality or confidence. Those are completely separate traits. Intelligent and smart are separate traits as well. Intelligent has to do with brain power and ability to learn and smart is ability to use what they are able to learn in a way that is useful.

    The difference I see is that women appear to overlook physical easier than men are able to. Sure it is nice to have someone appealing to look at but at the end of the day, they want someone they can just be with. Men want that as well but they appear to want more of the physical appearance things that go along with it. Doesn’t mean they pass by the non hot girl but it may take them longer to realize it is a potential mate.

  5. I suspect “intelligent” being so high on the list is sample bias. 🙂 If you’re not interested in Intelligent, you’re probably not reading this blog.

  6. They’re about the same, except that men are looking for someone “fun”. Women don’t look for men who are fun, because to women, most men are fun, but to men, most women aren’t all that fun.

  7. I good quote re this but I forget who from:

    Just as in the supermarket, what’s on the shopping list (e.g. healthy food, sensible eating )isn’t necessarily in the shopping trolley (e.g. fast food) on the way out.

    So what’s on the shopping list in the social supermarket isn’t what gets put in the shopping trolley.

    I think the word cloud is what we believe we choose and what we believe we prefer without the emotional response kicking in. This goes a little way in explaining why some men will chase attractive unintelligent girls who show interest in them and why some women chase confident ‘bad boys’ who are logically a disastrous choice.

    1. Nice metaphor! Now I’d like to look into the shopping trolley: “Please state the three most notable traits of your current partner”; maybe adding the time you’ve been together.
      That would bring out quite different clouds.

  8. Richard – how about doing the same exercise but making the questions the other way around – so what do men think women want? (and v.v.).

  9. This is what people SAY they’re looking for, but let’s face it, it’s absolute nonsense, isn’t it?

    In my experience, intelligence and sense of humour come quite a distance behind having money and power and looking like Brad Pitt (for women).

    When they respond to this sort of thing, they always list the things which will make them look less shallow, rather than what they are actually looking for. I would assume the same goes for men as for women.

  10. The big difference I see is that women are bigger liars than men about this subject. It has been my experience that women don’t want “kind” or “caring” guys, even though they end up happier with them. Hmm, maybe it’s not so much that they are lying so much as I’m interpreting this as what they’re attracted to.

    See, as a man, I can tell you that I am physically attracted to a woman who portrays a majority of those larger words in the word cloud. If a woman can really make me laugh, it makes her far more appealing in my eyes. If she likes my jokes, things get even better. And of course, there’s the physical aspects as well – my own personal favorite types being best described by words like “sexy, beautiful, and cute”. And oh look, all of those are in the men’s word cloud. (Although beautiful is kinda small…)

    I don’t think women are physically attracted to a man who she would describe as “kind” or “caring”. Well, maybe caring… if a guy buys her flowers to show he cares, that’s probably attractive. But women seem much more interested (at least in first glances) in men who are “confident”, a word that is very small in that cloud, than men who portray intelligence or kindness. I can’t argue with “funny”, though; that one seems pretty accurate

    Maybe though, it’s just the sample bias of women who read Richard’s blog. Thoughts?

    1. I’m getting behind the “all lies” analysis. The reality beyond this blog and beyond the lies is that most men are idiots looking for sex and most women are looking to use a relationship to get ahead financially/socially/whatever. If the sampling here were real, words like “boobs” would be the biggest (ha!) for men and words like “job” would be the biggest for women. Absolutely none of the words I see listed in those clouds are things either side can determine “at first sight”, which is still how most relationships start. These clouds are full of things that get learned/justified after the relationship has been established, not what is “desired” or “looked for” or actually sought out in any way as the determining factor in *starting* the relationship.

  11. Did you recognize that “nerdy” has the same size as “sexy” at the upper cloud? That might be a hint to the fact that the participation wasn’t representative 😉

  12. I notice that men have placed much more emphasis on honest, trustworthiness and general integrity related traits than women.

    I guess we are all just a little insecure?

  13. The main difference I see is that men seem slightly more interested in physical attributes (sexy, cute, beautiful, attractive). The corresponding words in the upper cloud are proportionally much smaller.

  14. The trouble with using Wordle is that the largest attribute is set at a size and the others are percentages of this. Because the women have two top results, where men put much more emphasis on intelligence than anything else, all other men’s words are going to look smaller than the same percentage of votes would look in the women’s image.

  15. Glad to see intelligence is on top in both sex’s clouds…that said, I’m not surprised to see Sexy (on the guy’s cloud) way up there too! Hmmm…guys like geeky women too!! Ha ha ha 😀

  16. This has the potential to look like a dating site – intelligent, funny, caring girl seeks intelligent, funny, sexy guy. 😉
    Seems to me that the guys and girls on this blog say they want pretty similar things in a partner, althought he men have used more physical terms (sexy, hot etc), and the ladies synonyms of reliable.
    Fascinating stuff, even if it is from a somewhat selective subgroup of the population!

  17. Both sexs say they want intelligence, but I find in reality thats not the case, each other wants the upper hand and be more intelligent than the other, its just a control issue

  18. When I saw “loyal” in the men’s word cloud, I initially read it as “legal”. Draw whatever psychological conclusions you wish from that.

  19. When a guy say they want intelligent a woman, they want a woman who’ll agree with him. And I think to find someone funny is in a way recognition of one’s intelligence.

    I find that when I can laugh about the same jokes with someone, they tend to have similar education level, life experience and cultural background.

    In the end, aren’t we all looking for someone similar to ourselves?

    1. No. I already have myself, so why would I look for someone who can only offer something similar? That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be things people have in common, but there’s a lot to be said for “opposites attract”.

  20. hmmmmm, scared to think that all the things that won’t make a relationship blossom or grow is on the list, the most important ones are to small! women want to be persued . . . respect is most important! Men and women both want to feel wanted! That is it! From there on things will be easy. Never stop persuing your women! Ladies: never stop stop giving your man words of affirmation!

    1. I would suggest that women completely ignore your advice. Guys don’t need words. Also, women worth having are not prey to be hunted, and men worth having show their respect by *not* playing that game.

    2. I would have to agree with impossibly stupid. From our perspective the cat and mouse game is VERY tiresome. The wanting to be perused thing isn’t about wanting to be desired. It’s about having control. By assuming the role of “prey”, that party is the one deciding if the “catch” is made. That is not how to earn respect. Being straight forward and honest is.

    3. I am intelligent, direct, honest and apparently still good looking, but in my 53 years on this planet I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that men always want to make the first move and always have to be the ones to define a relationship. Again like the men here who say women don’t really want ‘kind’ and ‘caring’ men I don’t think [most] men want intelligent, direct women, they want deferent, sexually manipulative women who play ‘the game’ which make the man feel ‘male’. They want to feel they’ve got the best ‘catch’. Just examine the language around dating. And that’s what makes them susceptible to the kind of women who are good at behaving like ‘prey’ – they probably don’t even realise what the women are up to because they do it very subtly. But I suspect most of the women on this blog are well aware of the kind of women I’m talking about. Actually this is not mutually exclusive with intelligence (the most attractive women to intelligent men may still be intelligent but it’s not that which is attracting the men). It’s a completely separate skill that some women possess. I personally believe it’s to do with women’s relationship with their father – if they’ve learned how to ‘get around Daddy’ and this is exactly how they get men to pursue them. I have become so fed up of ending up ‘men’s best friend’ – and then watching them fall for the scheming females who love to control and wangle their way into men’s bank balances etc. Sadly my wonderful father was a university professor who spent his time teaching me how to argue and his approval came when I argued well. Make of that what you will 🙂

  21. I would like to see a word cloud that illustrates the difference between what people say they want and what they actually want. I KNOW there would be a significant variance. For a variety of reasons.

  22. I agree with what the women want bit, but suprised at the men. I alway’s thought that all men wanted from women was to cook, clean & sex on tap.

  23. Richard, there is something you may not notice here.

    In order to make a word “big”, it just have to appear at the beginning of a few posts. Unless all readers post their reply privately, this isn’t an accurate result.

    Anyway, it is a good try.

  24. Richard, there is something you may not notice here.

    In order to make a word “big”, it just have to appear at the beginning of a few posts. Unless all readers post their reply privately, this isn’t an accurate result. Who know you may get different cloud with private replies.

    Anyway, it is a good try.

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