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The poets were right. The way to a woman’s heart is through metaphorical compliments

When it comes to romance, a study from China shows that women like men that use metaphorical language as opposed to everyday language, when paying compliments. Researchers from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, investigated 116 heterosexual female college students’ preference for compliments paid by men.

“We tend to form very rapid impressions about a person’s attractiveness in social contexts and thus for women, cues from language usage during initial encounters may provide a rapid first assessment of a potential mate’s intellectual and creative abilities,” the authors of the study explained according to Psy Post.

When asked to rate the compliments, women gave higher scores to figurative language than everyday language and they also rated higher compliments given to their appearance than to their possessions. Most women responded positively to metaphorical compliments towards their faces. For example, according to the same source, compliments such as “Your eyes are a gorgeous rainbow,” were appreciated more by the women than literal compliments such as “Your lips are sexy.”


The scientists explained that the preference for metaphorical compliments could be explained by the fact that figurative language could be a sign of intelligence and creativity. When asked what attributes they appreciate in men, several other studies have shown that intelligence and creativity are among the highest rated qualities.

One of the largest studies on attractiveness and mating came from Chapman University and according to their findings, women considered looks to be important but were more interested in men that had a successful career, a steady income and make more money than they do.

Sylvia Jacob