Padma Lakshmi and David Spade

A new survey of 1,000 people conducted by People Media finds that almost half of the country prefers a sense of humor to, well, anything else.

"In addition to chemistry, which one of the following do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a relationship partner?" That was the question posed to random Americans, and the answers broke down like so:

45 percent -- Sense of humor

30 percent -- Similar cultural background

10 percent -- Appearance

7.3 percent -- Educational level

6.8 percent -- Financial state

Of course, these are probably idealized figures -- and that they're all dealbreakers if fudged up by the other person. (A good appearance may be essential for only 10% of the country, but 95% of people would probably change their minds about someone who dressed increasingly like a slob in public.)

"Similar attitudes and values between partners are critical to the longevity of relationships,” said Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan known as The Love Doctor, who also is a relationship expert for People Media’s  “Having a similar background – be it religion, race, ethnicity or lifestyle – acts as a frame of reference that both partners share.  These shared perspectives enhance communication and one’s ability to be, and feel, understood. This helps create a sort of ‘emotional shorthand’ that is beneficial to healthy relationships.”


Commentarium (10 Comments)

Aug 26 10 - 4:59pm

I often wonder if "sense of humor" is a chicken-and-egg situation. Like, is this person attracted to me because s/he thinks I'm funny, or does s/he think I'm funny because s/he's attracted to me?

Aug 26 10 - 5:17pm

Wouldn't a sense of humor, cultural similarity, physical attraction, and intellectual compatibility all fall under the rubric of "chemistry?" How can you have these attributes "in addition to chemistry?" The survey question seems self-contradictory.

Aug 26 10 - 6:43pm

Don't think too hard about these studies. They're fun (and, I suspect, basically accurate), but there are always a shitload of flaws in the research to pick apart.

Aug 26 10 - 7:30pm
Jake A

It would be nice to think the figure for "financial state" was truthfully that low.

Aug 26 10 - 7:45pm

If this was facebook, I would "like" all of the previous comments.

Aug 27 10 - 12:07am

Maybe it's the stupid economy, but I'd much rather have someone who is grumpy when they come home from white collar professionalism than someone who is comedic when they come home from their service industry drudgery. Of course it would be nice to have both the $$$ and the LOL, but life isn't fair.

Aug 27 10 - 1:59am

Is Spade banging Padma now? Does she dress him up in a diaper and feed him curry?

Aug 27 10 - 3:09pm

@T94: In this economy, if you have the $$$, you have the LOL.

Aug 30 10 - 11:48am

Jake, why would it be nice to think "financial state" is that low? I find absolutely nothing wrong with preferring to spend my entertainment time with someone whose tickets I don't always have to buy. That said, I'd still take the cheerful "drudge."

Sep 16 10 - 9:48am

Take surveys with a grain of salt. What women say they like and what they do are two different things.

Many women are far more superficial than this. They pretend that they're not, but they are.

Really, women are the worst at being honest about their real feelings, even with themselves. (Men are more deceptive towards others, but know what they are doing)