Why Friendly People Are Considered More Attractive

It's not just the smile—research say grooming habits help

Flipping through my friend’s US Weekly this weekend, I caught an article about Jessica Simpson’s questionable hygiene habits. According to the actress, she brushes her teeth maybe three times a week and waits until her hair smells before she washes it. She’s not the only Hollywood hottie who embraces their dirty side. Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp often rebel against their pretty-boy charm by looking like they’re one shower away from skid row, while Robert Pattinson admits he rarely changes his clothes. As it turns out, keeping themselves less-than-powder-fresh may be the perfect way to fend off fans.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, the most sociable people tend to have the best grooming habits, which helps them lure the company they crave. The study also found that the friendliest people are also usually regarded as the most attractive—because they put their best face forward, says lead researcher Brian Meier, PhD, psychology professor at Gettysburg College.

In their research, Meier and his team assessed the personalities of 217 men and women before showing their photos to a group of strangers. The participants looking at pictures were told nothing about the people in the images, nonetheless, those who scored highest in agreeableness and amiability were considered to be the best-looking. The researchers then also determined that the most sociable people were also the best-groomed. “Because the photographs were taken unexpectedly, friendly or outgoing individuals seem to be better groomed on a daily basis, which likely helps them receive the social interaction they desire,” said Meier. “Sociable people seem to already know that a neat appearance goes a long way in drawing others' attention," he adds.

For celebrities like Simpson, who already get more attention than they want, it seems perfectly reasonable, then, to start sporting an unkempt look to ward off their crazed admirers. I’m not really sure where this study leaves me, though. Since I started working from home two years ago, I look a little bit too much like the before picture on those “Make My Mom Over, Please!” stories. I guess it simply proves a point: that my day does not revolve around seeing people. It does make me think twice, though, about leaving the house in whatever jeans I pulled off the bedroom floor this morning. And, it’s nice to know that just putting a little effort into how I look before I go somewhere might make me look friendlier and more attractive to those whom I might like to impress.

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