Relationship Tips

When It Comes to Matters of Love, It’s Definitely Possible to Have Too Much Chill

Mary Grace Garis

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Photo: Getty Images/William Perugini
I have never had any chill—especially regarding romantic pursuits. I'm basically an air-condition-less apartment in July with nary a cheap Bed Bath & Beyond fan to speak of. Sure, this may have opened me up to more heartbreak than what a run-of-the-mill softboy may experience, but turns out, scientifically speaking, that it's high time that I embrace my complete and utter lack of chill. To quote the Smashing Pumpkins, today is the greatest day I’ve ever known, because I've come across (my favorite) study, which finds that being too easygoing can be problematic.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia gave 214 students a questionnaire to assess qualities desirable for both long-term (romantic) and short-term (sexual) attractions by assigning percentile ranks to the indicators of intelligence, kindness, easygoingness, and physical attractiveness. Spoiler: Being “too hot” or “too kind” doesn't work against you. While all four characteristics peaked at the 90th percentile, being too easygoing or highly intelligent showed statistically significant decreases in attractiveness from the 90th to 99th percentiles, while appearance and kindness did not.

Being too easygoing can remove any sense of friction in a relationship—and without friction, there’s no spark. And with no spark, things can become monotonous.

So, if you identify as a Chill Guy Who Likes to Hang, it would appear that such a slacker-esque mentality ain’t super hot in extreme doses. Though the study doesn’t offer intel as to why being too easygoing gets tired beyond positing that it's "for reasons that may be biological and/or psycho-social in nature," I, Captain of Team No Chill, can suggest two specific scenarios:

When it comes to those early days of dating, being with someone who’s laid-back and “totally down for whatever” is so great on paper. And yet, someone super cool may not, you know, make an effort. You end up in the same bar every date night and don’t hear from them for days at a time. Eventually, you find yourself half-with someone who sorta cares about you? Maybe? They called you “babe” once in a text message? All of this is likely to result in a non-breakup from this non-relationship.

With long-term relationships, things are similar yet still oh-so different. Think about how when you get really nested, you tend to stay in more and have lots of Netflix-and-chill nights. “Chill” on these occasions is often code for some low-effort boinking, but in the larger context of a long-term partnership, it reflects an ethos of being, well, “unimaginative.”

Being too easygoing can remove any sense of friction in a relationship—and without friction, there’s no spark. And with no spark, things can become monotonous. Of course, if a weekly hygge-forward PJ party with your S.O. who "doesn't care at all!" about what's for dinner is really what revs your engine, lean in. But, to me, being aggressively easygoing evokes laziness and apathy, and those traits just don't really do it for me. I’m glad science is on my side with that.

So if you're glued to that Couch Life, here's how to stop ditching your friends to chill with your S.O. And if you're looking to date more mindfully, this app is a great place to start.

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