31 Playfulness with partners

Based on Reasearch by Garry Chick, Ph.D.. Psychology Science Minute written by Latasha L. Nadasdi, B.A.

Have you or your friends ever complained about immature dates or being frustrated by games played in romantic relationships?  Many people seem to be preoccupied with looking for maturity in a partner.  However, a recent study shows that playfulness may be the key to finding and maintaining a healthy relationship.

A woman’s playfulness may signal to men that she is youthful and fertile.  A man’s playfulness may show women that he is less aggressive.  A less aggressive man is less threatening to a mother and her children. Dr. Garry Chick and colleagues asked people to rank the traits they find most desirable in a romantic partner.  For a potential mate, the most desirable qualities they chose were ‘kind and understanding,’ ‘sense of humor’, ‘fun loving’, and ‘playful.’

Playful qualities can be helpful in any partnership in maintaining happy relationships.  When used effectively, playful communication can help facilitate connection with your partner, smooth over differences, overcome setbacks and problems, and put fights into perspective.  Experts suggest that partners avoid using humor to cover up their angry emotions.  And be sure you both are in on the joke.

So engage in playful communication.  Let go of your shyness. And be more spontaneous in favor of a happy, healthy partnership.

Refereed Journal:

Chick, G., Yarnal, C., & Purrington, A (2012). Play and mate preference: Testing the signal theory of adult playfulness. American Journal of Play, 4 (4), p. 407-440.

For more discussion of this research, see:

Penn State (2012, August 3). Playfulness may help adults attract mates, study finds.

ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/08/120803111151.htm

Segal, J., Smith, M., Jaffe, J. (2012, June.) Playful communication in relationship: The power of laughter, humor, and play. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq7_playful_communication.htm


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