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Who says nice guys finish last?
New research out of Michigan State University shows that kindness and emotional stability are more important predictors of happiness in relationships than similar personalities.
“We kind of started the project looking at whether similar couples were happier. Shockingly, it turned out that they weren’t,” said William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at the university.
Chopik and Richard Lucas, MSU Foundation professor of psychology, reviewed data that examined happiness levels and personality traits among 2,578 heterosexual, married couples. Their findings were published in a report — appropriately released just before Valentine’s Day — called, “Actor, partner, and similarity effects of personality on global and experienced well-being.”
Chopik said the couples were asked about nine types of happiness.
“We found having a similar personality didn’t matter for almost any of them,” he said.
Chopik suggested that people focus on a few key traits if they want a happier relationship — and a happier life.
They include conscientiousness, or the desire to do things thoughtfully and dutifully; emotional stability; and agreeableness, or “how nice you are.”
Even among couples who share similar personalities, Chopik and Lucas found that having a nice, conscientious partner leads to a more satisfying relationship.