Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should You Focus on Your Looks or Personality More?

My audience on this blog is not uniform by any means:

  • Some readers are good looking, others are not. 
  • Some readers are interesting, others are not.
  • Some readers are confident, others are not. 
  • Some readers know how to dress, others do not.
  • etc.
The advice that I give is similarly varied. Depending which of these groups (and others) you fall into, different pieces of advice (from this blog or other sources) may or may not apply to you. A girl who already knows how to dress well and look her best should not be scrutinizing every aspect of her appearance, even if I post about it frequently. Those posts are not intended for her. If a girl like this gets rejected it would be an exercise in futility for her to fret about the fact that she wore one top instead of another, or wore heels instead of flats, or put on too much make-up, when the real problem is that she is boring, or is always trying to identify with men, or is a slob. Perfecting some single part of her look is not going to have anywhere near as much of an effect as trying to improve her personality.

The fact of the matter is that improvements in appearance follow a law of diminishing returns. Added efforts produce less and less results. And there comes a point at which it makes more sense to shift focus to the areas of your life that will have a larger effect:

The phenomenon doesn't only apply to appearance. In a similar manner, a girl who has a good personality - who is radiant, fun to be around, nurturing, intelligent, cheerful - a girl like this would be stupid to spend her time harping on the fact that she sometimes feels a little awkward in social situations, or lamenting her less-than-impressive intelligence. Instead, this girl should focus more about her appearance (which was probably neglected while she was becoming an awesome person). In doing so she might realize that her clothes often clash with her complexion, or that her hair doesn't suit her face shape, or that heels make her look sexy - all of which would be far more effective in making her more attractive to men than making some minute improvement to her personality.

Many women will lie somewhere between the states represented by the two plots, depending on how they have invested their time and effort. But when you read advice from this blog - or elsewhere - first understand what type of girl you are and where on each plot you lie before you decide whether or not it applies to you, or to what degree. 
(By the way, the 50-odd % location of the dividing line in the charts above is fairly arbitrary, and the shape of the curve will probably be different for every girl anyway. Don't pay much attention to it.)


  1. Isn't it reasonable to say that a woman can easily find out what she has to work on from where her problems begin? If a girl gets a lot of attention from men, gets many compliments, have guys approach her and even go to great lengths to have sex with her, yet never gets a relationship going, she has to work on her personality?
    But if she never gets approached in the first place or men only see her as a friend, she needs to work on her appearance?

    What about her personality needs changing is a different matter though, and can be difficult to find out.

  2. I am one of the girls that always get approached, always get numbers, always having dates – but never have a boyfriend.

    I often say it’s a Quantity over Quality situation (well it's actually mostly guys that are 'time wasters' – not ready for what I am looking or not within the time frame I am looking at - or they're just here for a year then moving back OS or they're often way younger - or they are about to go traveling, or they are going through a divorce - also I do attract younger guys a lot)

    I know I can be shy and awkward at times - but I’m also told by friends that I can be a lot of fun, I’m patient, reliable. How can I work out what’s lacking from the guys point of view – I have done a few ‘exit’ interviews with ex bfs - most of which I am still friends with and all I am told is that they can’t work out why I am single. I don’t know how I could ‘improve’ my personality!? Any tips?

    1. Work on your shyness, this is your biggest hurdle. Be open, fun and confident. Easier said than done, but if you read the post Learn How to Be Social it should help.

      But also realize that hotter women have to trudge through more suitors, since more men will pretend to be interested in you personally when really they are just interested in sex. Work on reading personalities and filtering men before you get emotionally invested.

  3. Hi Andrew,

    Does swearing or talking crudely a huge turn off for quality men? I dress very femininely and when I put in the mental effort, I can act polite, sweet, tactful and project a personality that I am feminine despite feeling like I'm not being myself. ( I normally act like this in business meetings or in a professional environment because being unfiltered isn't necessarily the best thing to do.) Despite this one draw back, I am consistently told that I have a great personality, open, fun-loving, beautiful and that they're overall impressed. However, at times I second guess myself as to after the novelty of it all, if when I start showing this more masculine attitude of mines, I wonder if it will put-off the same quality guys I'm shooting for to re-evaluate if they like me. In addition, if the quality men I am shooting for, all have this idealistic attitude (I don't know if this is the general case.. just an assumption) that their dream woman is some ultra-feminine lady who seems have it all together, how do I learn to curb this masculine side without feeling I am detracting a part of myself?

  4. Close family believe o have Asperger's, and I find working on my personality quite draining, and often there is so much to work on, It's easier to work on your appearance than your personality, in my opinion. What do you mean by that? Not to be rude, but I feel that you should put up an in-depth post about personality. If that has been made, I apologise.

    1. I feel for you. I had social anxiety as a child, interacting with strangers was so frightening and exhausting. I found two things really helped. (1) Find people you feel comfortable with and interact more with them. There are always going to be folks you don't feel comfortable with and those you feel more comfortable with. Find the ones you do feel more comfortable with and just be yourself with them, try to open up more with them as 'practice'. (2) Find things you love doing (music? gaming? movies? art? books? sports?) and do them often, go to meetups and events and find others who love doing what you like to do. You'll always have something to talk about. A large part of having a personality that people want to be around is simply projecting happiness and confidence, and it's easy to do that when you are doing something you love.

  5. How much is too much time focused on your appearance?

    I once lost a lot of weight (100+) But it required severally restricting calories and I had 3 gym memberships and was spending about 4 hours a day of gym/commuting to gym(before work and after work)/clothes, showering etc.

    1. P.S, you suggested I see a weight loss psychologist when I mentioned this in another of your posts (which I plan on doing and consulting a gastric bypass dr as well)

      But the question still remains, where do you draw the line of trying to look good vs. doing too much.


    2. Enough time spent on looking good = you have enough time to go out and do things and enjoy looking good. Doing too much = that IS your life, you have no time or energy for anything else.

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