Not to be confused with being funny, necessarily (though the two can go hand-in-hand), being goofy is more like being silly or, as Merriam-Webster would have it, being mildly ludicrous. But however you define it, exactly, goofiness is now becoming the attractive quality du jour.
This goofiness revolution first registered on my radar when I began to hear contestants proudly declare themselves as goofy or proclaim that they were looking for someone goofy or with whom they can "goof around" on recent episodes of The Bachelor, Love Island, and Perfect Match. But beyond this decidedly un-scientific research, relationship experts also confirm it’s a thing.
“Goofiness is really sexy these days,” says Michael Kaye, global director of brand marketing and communications at dating platform OkCupid. “People want to have fun with a partner, they want to let loose, and our data proves it: Ninety-two percent of the 95,000 people on OkCupid say they enjoy doing silly things, and those who do receive 34 percent more likes and have 16 percent more conversations than those who don’t.”
“Daters are looking for someone who isn’t afraid to show their goofy side and make them laugh.” —Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge
Over on the dating app Hinge, daters demonstrate a similar proclivity for goofiness. “Daters are looking for someone who isn’t afraid to show their goofy side and make them laugh,” says Hinge’s director of relationship science Logan Ury. According to science, laughter can be as supportive of a relationship as it can be for individual well-being: “Laughter releases a happy cocktail of hormones, including the bonding hormone oxytocin, which can increase our trust in the other person,” says Ury.
But the reasons why being goofy is attractive go beyond the laughter that can often come as a result of it. Below, relationship experts break down why goofiness can be so alluring (including the deeper relationship needs that goofiness might satisfy) and why it may be increasingly common, among today’s daters, to go for the goof.
Why is being goofy attractive in a dating and relationships context?
A goofy person isn’t necessarily a fun person or someone whose comedic interjections leave you cracking up; what they are is someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and isn’t too worried about portraying a perfectly buttoned-up image. “I think goofiness is synonymous with an ability to be self-deprecating or self-effacing, to be aware of and comfortable with your own quirks or idiosyncrasies,” says Jess Carbino, PhD, former sociologist for dating apps Tinder and Bumble.
“When someone says they want someone who is goofy...I think they’re saying they just want to be able to feel safe to be their true self.” —Erica Turner, LPC, therapist and dating coach
Dating someone with these kinds of qualities can lessen the pressure you might otherwise feel to maintain your own image. “When someone says they want someone who is goofy or someone that they can be goofy with, I think they’re really saying they just want to be able to feel comfortable and safe to be their true self and not have to put on any sort of façade,” says relationship therapist and dating coach Erica Turner, LPC.
In that way, goofiness can be a signal that someone is willing to let their guard down (at least a little bit), says Dr. Carbino. And that can feel particularly refreshing in the age of social media, where so much of our typical presentation to others is so carefully crafted and curated. “This kind of highlight reel sets the bar so high and can make people feel like who they truly are, isn’t enough,” says Turner. “The desire for goofiness can be a desire to get back to what’s real.”
Forgoing certain formal niceties in the dating process for something a little more goofy and natural can also grease the wheels of a relationship, speeding things along toward bonding, closeness, and mutual vulnerability. “Once you feel like you can be goofy or silly with someone, you also likely feel like you can be seen, known, and appreciated for your authentic self—your quirks, your uniqueness, your feelings, your ‘weird habits,’ or ‘out there’ interests,” says Turner. And feeling that way with someone can certainly increase your attraction to them.
The same goofy silliness can also be appealing once you’re in a relationship with someone. After all, a little joking around here and there can inject some much-needed levity into everyday life, especially in the troubling times we're living through, says Dr. Carbino. Indeed, embracing playfulness in a relationship has been correlated with experiencing more positive emotions and less conflict and monotony. And other studies on playfulness in relationships (which isn't far off from goofiness) have found it to be associated with stronger feelings of relationship closeness and satisfaction.
“Being goofy together means you’re sharing a dialogue, you’re sharing language, and you’re sharing activities.” —Jess Carbino, PhD, sociologist
Part of that relational benefit may spring from the intimacy of being goofy together with a partner, says Dr. Carbino. “That means you’re sharing a dialogue, you’re sharing language, and you’re sharing activities.” The resulting back-and-forth is the stuff of inside jokes and other silly little things that feel personal and private between the two of you—and therefore, special and intimacy-building.
Certainly, a whole host of other qualities beyond goofiness can affect your ability to bond with a prospective or current partner over time and to build upon your intimacy, caveats Dr. Carbino. On that list? Shared values, kindness, intelligence, and good communication and listening skills, to name a few. “In theory, having these foundational items in place will allow you to build that goofiness with each other over time,” says Dr. Carbino. “As you grow a relationship, you’ll have your moments, create your inside jokes, and get to know each other’s idiosyncrasies.”
But, it still stands that someone being naturally goofy from the jump may help shuttle that process along, allowing you to feel more comfortable being yourself in the dating stage. “You know that with that person, you won’t have to worry about being judged or shamed for showing the goofy side of yourself,” says Turner. And that's a definite turn-on.
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