Women like a bad guy, or so the cliché goes. But clichés don’t always stand up to scrutiny and this particular one has just been firmly squashed by scientists studying a large group of romantic couples.
When looking at all the various traits that individuals bring to relationships – everything from their readiness to commit, ability to forgive, and contentment with life - humility was what stood out as the one trait core to the most successful partnerships.
"Humility strengthens social bonds," concluded the study. "Modesty," say the scientists behind it, "promotes a sense of 'we-ness' in close relationships so that individuals enjoy sacrificing for a partner."
Furthermore, it appears that modesty is good for your health. “Just like oil prevents an engine from overheating, humility is theorised to buffer wear-and-tear generally caused by traits that promote competition (e.g., high standards, competitiveness). Humility may be the secret ingredient that allows people to compete at high levels without leading to breakdown in one’s relationships.”
"Conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm of all power is modesty."
Louisa May Alcott
Author, Little Women
"With a woman of sophistication, class and modesty and refinement, I become a totally tongue-tied buffoon. I can't even look her straight in the face."
Actor, Game Of Thrones
"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
"Adornment, what a science!
Beauty, what a weapon!
Modesty, what elegance!"
"At least I have the modesty to admit that lack of modesty is one of my failings!"