Similar traits valued in a hookup and relationship

Justin Marinelli
Senior Writer

While many would argue that we look for totally different things depending on whether we want a hook-up or a relationship, I disagree. I find that we usually look for the same things, but it’s the number of traits we look for that differs. We just happen to be looking for more when what we want is a relationship.

If the weekend rolls around and I feel in the mood for a hook-up, the first thing I look for is enthusiasm. After all, who wants to mess around with someone who’ll be a cold fish? This is also something that I seek in a relationship. I want someone who’s as excited about dating me as I am about being me.

Confidence is also supremely important. In fact, no matter what I’m looking for, I find confidence essential in a partner. The way confident people approach the world is just sexy (and after some high school relationships with unconfident, insecure people, I have learned that it’s just not worth dating people who aren’t confident).

Maturity is also a quality worth seeking. Its usefulness in a relationship is obvious, but I find it key with hook-ups as well. Immaturity is not only a turn-off, but it greatly increases the likelihood of unpleasant or awkward circumstances later.

Looks are also nice, although they matter far less in the context of a relationship. An interesting difference here is that for a hook-up, whether or not one is actually good-looking matters more, whereas in a relationship being able to be comfortably dressed and to be yourself has the edge.

The ultimate quality though, and the one I give the most weight to, is without a doubt intelligence. There’s something about a large, hefty intellect or a fine, well-rounded wit that makes things intensely satisfying. I know many would argue that smarts aren’t too important in the context of a casual encounter, but intelligence is just really attractive, so I keep it on my little list.

If I were looking for a relationship, not only would I keep an eye out for what I’ve listed above, but I’d also look for a few additional traits. To a certain degree, I like it when someone is a bit sassy. It keeps things fun and interesting, and it also shows a fair amount of confidence and intelligence. For the same reasons, I find that a decent sense of humor is also necessary for a great relationship. Finally, while this isn’t necessary in a hook-up, the ability to carry on a deep conversation is absolutely essential in a relationship.

While it is a common sentiment that we look for different traits in a hook-up than a relationship, it seems more reasonable to assume that what we’re looking for is mostly the same mold with minor, not major, differences. The amount of difference varies a bit between each person, but the similarities are almost always far greater. Think back through your own history and compare your hook-ups with your relationships. You’ll probably find some common themes.

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