We often worry about making ourselves more attractive to others, but have you ever thought that maybe we’ve got it all backward? Research shows there are certain things about ourselves we should look out for because they actually make us appear unattractive to others. While some of the criteria is physical and it can’t be changed, other parts have more to do with attitude. Read on to see how you measure up.

1.) Sleep deprivation isn’t your best look.

In 2010 researchers asked participants to look at photos of people who had slept for a full eight hours, as well as photos of people who hadn’t slept in 31 hours.

Man sitting on porch, yawning
Miikka Luotio on Unsplash

When the researchers asked them which photos looked better, you could probably guess the participants’ responses. They said the sleep-deprived models appeared tired and less healthy. Additionally, they described the sleep-deprived models as both sad and less attractive.

2.) If you’re a mean person, you’re not going to have much luck.

In a Chinese study in 2014, researchers displayed pictures of people with neutral expressions. Under some of the photos were the words “decent” and “honest.” Others said “evil” and “mean.”

Pug wrapped up in fuzzy blanket
Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Not surprisingly, it was determined that a positive disposition, or positive words associated with a person, can actually increase other’s perceptions of their level of attractiveness.

3.) Surprisingly, if you display too much happiness it’s a turnoff.

This one depends on your gender. In 2011 researchers showed participants some photos of the opposite sex and asked for their opinions on how attractive each person was to them.

Men tended to find women less attractive if they appeared too proud, but liked them if they smiled a lot. Alternatively, women were less attracted to men who appeared very happy but liked the men who displayed pride in their photos.

Woman giving peace signs with her hands, with her mouth open wide smiling
Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When participants looked at the photos, they rated the people as less attractive if they were labeled as evil and mean.

4.) What you smell like is very important.

There are studies that show we’re not very attracted to people when they smell too differently from ourselves.

But at the same time, we don’t want to smell too much alike. There was a study from 2006 that asked people how much their partner turned them on and how many times they had slept with other people during the relationship. Next, they took DNA from the person and their partner’s mouth.

Woman outside, holding and smelling big bouquet of flowers
Vanessa Kintaudi on Unsplash

The researchers looked at the histocompatibility complexes, which are the immune system genes. When the genes were quite similar, they often correlated with the couples who lacked attraction to each other and who sought sex outside of the relationship.

5.) Nobody likes a liar.

Sure, it’s obvious, but it’s even more important than you might think. In 2006 researchers showed participants some blurbs about people that described them as either intelligent or unintelligent, dependent or independent, and honest or dishonest.

Note book with
Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When the participants rated their attractiveness, only one of the three criteria had a substantial effect on them: honesty.