Things You're Doing That Are Making You Less Attractive, According To Science

From cracking a joke to owning a dog, or from taking it easy on colognes and perfumes to wearing red and sporting sunglasses, science has shown that there are specific things anyone can do to make themselves more attractive to potential partners.

It makes sense, then, that science has also studied which qualities are potentially making you less attractive. From a biological viewpoint, humans are hardwired to find mates, but you may be self-sabotaging in a way that's preventing you from successfully pairing off. Complicating an already-fraught subject is the fact that much of this self-sabotage is likely unconscious; people are blindly giving off the wrong signals entirely.

You may be doing what science says makes you less appealing, and you're not even conscious of it. The first step, however, is awareness, so becoming cognizant of your most unattractive attributes according to science just might help you land a mate. 

Photo: Edsolo87 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Not Getting Enough Sleep

    It's common knowledge that sleep is crucial for optimal physical and emotional health. Plus, sleep is awesome. But if you're one of the millions of people who struggle to get enough Z's, you may be making yourself less attractive to possible romantic partners. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep makes you noticeably lackluster. After cutting down on the research subjects' sleep time, they appeared less vibrant, less approachable, and less mentally astute.

    According to researcher Dr. Tina Sundelin: "These findings suggest that sleep loss can be detected in a face and that people are less inclined to interact with a sleep-deprived individual."

  • Being Mean

    Nobody likes a jerk, and science has proven it. One surefire way to make yourself less attractive is to be a meanie or, more accurately, appear as if you're mean. A study found that people with neutral facial expressions were perceived as unattractive when certain words like mean or evil were written beside their images.

    So it's not only important that you not be jerk, but you shouldn't look like one either.

  • Being Humorless

    Being Humorless
    Photo: Cupcakecuddles / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    A sense of humor is sexy. If you don't have one, you are drastically limiting your own sexual appeal and turning off prospective mates. Research has found that "not only are those with a sense of humor rated as more attractive, but more attractive men and women are also seen as funnier than their less attractive counterparts."

    Know how to laugh, how to crack a joke, and how to see the humor in an increasingly scary world, and your love life just might improve.

  • Displaying Unassertive Body Language

    When someone's body language comes across as strong and confident, their attractiveness is automatically enhanced. The inverse is also true. When a person has constricted body language, they lose their attractiveness. Crossing arms over the chest and slouching are major turnoffs for most individuals.

    On the flip side, open and self-assured poses are most effective for drawing others to you.

  • Coming Off As 'Fake Nice'

    Coming Off As 'Fake Nice'
    Photo: Riverdale / The CW

    Everyone has that acquaintance or boss who comes off as artificially nice or just plain fake. Often this demeanor masks a self-absorption and condescension toward others, which is unattractive in itself and comes off as unnecessarily superficial. Every once in a while you'll find a master manipulator who can play up the "fake nice" without being too obviously counterfeit.

    However, it doesn't take too long for the truth to seep out.

  • An Inability To Cope With Stress

    An Inability To Cope With Stress
    Photo: FlickreviewR / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Stress is part and parcel of life in the 21st century, and, unfortunately, it can impact more than one's health and relationships. It can, according to science, make you unattractive to others. Both men and women are less inclined to find a stressed-out person appealing because, on some level, humans can sense high cortisol in the bloodstream.

    High cortisol is instinctively connected with less-than-desirable immune system responses and fertility issues.