Let's say we are building a perfect partner. What are some of the top personality traits we seek when looking for our ideal match? According to the Science of Relationships there are several top personality traits people are looking for when they date. Reading fiction helps to develop some of those top traits.
1. We look for intelligence when we are choosing our best companions. Scientists have found that people who read generally have larger vocabularies and better "theory of mind." In other words, if you are seeking someone who can provide a real conversation, help your mind soar, and exchange witty banter, you may want to make sure he/she reads so they can live up to your expectations.
2. We look for men/women who are warm, fair and perceptive. Hmmm...sounds a lot like empathetic to me. For a person to be warm, or show affection when needed, make fair and balanced decisions, and be perceptive, they have to understand the feelings of others. People who are empathetic can read people's feelings and respond accordingly. In a previous blog, I discussed a scientific study which concluded that people who read fiction are more empathetic. You can read my blog on fiction and empathy here.
3. We look for people who are knowledgable. Knowledge is different from intelligence. Knowledge is wisdom. Many times in life that wisdom comes from the school of hard knocks. Readers have an advantage though. Readers get to live many lives. They vicariously live through the characters on the page, learning and growing with them. This creates unparalleled wisdom.
I often think about how lucky I am to be in such a wonderful relationship (a thriving marriage going on 9 years.) Then it completely makes sense to me when I see a Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde book placed for casual reading in the bathroom. It may sound silly but I truly believe that has helped contribute to the level-headedness, understanding, empathy, knowledge and wisdom that has fueled our relationship.
The next time you are in a bookstore coffee shop and you see a person sitting alone at a table sipping coffee, go introduce yourself. They may just be your true love.