Does your partner tickle you when you're reading? Make goofy faces when you're sad? Spray you with the hose when you're gardening? No, your partner isn't a five-year-old kid, according to a new study, your playful significant other might actually be the ideal mate.
A study published in American Journal of Play assessed 320 people, ages 18 to 44. Sixty-two percent were single and 38 percent were in a romantic relationship. Participants examined a list of 16 characteristics and indicated whether or not they found them desirable for a partner or a relationship. Researchers discovered playfulness was an essential trait, regardless of gender. It beat out having a degree, good genes, and being religious.
Participants were also asked to describe their own level of playfulness. Those who considered themselves as playful also valued the trait in partners. Plus, people in relationships considered themselves more playful compared to single participants.
I'm sure if most people had the choice between having a playful partner or a non-playful one if they'd pick a playful one, but it's not always the trait people discuss when they reveal what they're looking for (think checklists and dating profiles). It's not exactly at the top of everyone's list of non-negotiables.
The thing is, having a playful relationship means much more than silliness, humor, and fun 24/7— it indicates you're both laid-back and can go with the flow. These characteristics are especially important during the stressful, not-so-fun situations.
Everyone knows eating, working out, and dancing like a kid is more fun, so maybe our best bet for finding love is acting like one.