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10 Factors that Contribute to Attraction

Dating is never a smooth process. You can create a list of what to look for in a partner and try to find the perfect person that meets all of those requirements, but that doesn’t guarantee making the dating aspect any easier or less awkward. Online dating has become widely used in this day and age to help people find love. But, the success of online dating isn’t likely the result of algorithms that calculates who would be a good match for one another based on the self-reports of what people look for in a partner.

According to a study done in August 2017 led by psychologist Samantha Joel from the University of Utah, it has been found that self-reports of personality in self and potential partners do not predict attraction. Participants of the study were asked to fill out questionnaires about their personality traits and desired traits they would like in their potential partners and then were arranged four-minute speed dates in person. Researchers discovered that the participants were not likely to be more attracted to pre-determined matches than non-matches.

It has been concluded that information about personality alone is unlikely to to predict good long-term matches. Instead, long-term attraction in romantic love is more likely to occur when qualities that create attraction in general are mixed with certain social factors and situations that produce the essential element of passion. Psych2Go shares with you 10 factors that contribute to attraction:

1. Similarity

The more similar your beliefs and way of thinking are with a potential partner, the more likely you are to be attracted to them. This pertains to the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” We find people who are similar to us more attractive, because it’s easier for us to trust those with similar mindsets.

2. Propinquity

We are more likely to be attracted to those who are in close proximity to us. This allows higher probability of running into each other more often than not. As we become more exposed to those around us, we think about them and it creates a stronger sense of familiarity that forms stronger attraction. This is often the case for people who fall in love over time with partners who they initially overlooked.

3. Desirable Characteristics

The more characteristics your potential partner possesses that you find desirable, the more attractive you will find them. This pertains to both physical outer appearance and personality traits. While personality alone is unlikely to predict what makes a good long-term romantic match, personality is still very much a part of a person, and if a potential partner has characteristics you find irresistible, then it’s no surprise that they’ll catch your eye.

4. Reciprocal liking

When someone likes you, it can increase your liking for them, too. Not all the time, but generally speaking, it does. During the very beginning when I started dating the person I’m currently with, I asked him why he liked me. He said, “Good question. I like people who like me. People who go the extra mile and show that they care.” His answers were different each time as we got to know each other on a deeper level over time, but this was his very first response to the question. Reciprocal liking is important in the initial stages of attraction. People naturally like to feel wanted and loved.

5. Social Influences

When your family and friends accept and consider your potential partner as a good match, then you are more inclined to fall in love with them. This is why when people are heavily considering to be with someone long-term, they introduce their potential partner to their family and friends, because they want to see how they will fit in with their social network. For someone who values their friends’ and family’s opinions a lot, this can significantly impact whether or not they fall in or out of love with someone.

6. Filling Needs

If a potential mate can fulfill your needs of companionship, sex, or mating, then there is a greater chance you can fall in love with them. This is why I didn’t fall in love with the last person I dated. We had different needs we wanted to fulfill. He’s always pictured himself as a family man and specified not wanting his career to be everything. Instead, he wants to prioritize having kids and being present for every soccer game tournament and piano recital. And I told him that I never had a strong desire to have kids. You can be attracted to someone based on how well the both of you get along, but if the two of you want different things out of life, it’s difficult to sustain the attraction when your needs aren’t being fulfilled by the other person.

7. Specific Cues

We all have specific things we look for in someone, whether that pertains to the outer physical appearance or certain mannerisms and quirks. The person I’m currently dating teased me when I constantly tell him he reminds me of certain characters I’m attracted to in books and movies. “It’s almost like you have a type,” he said. I never thought about it until he mentioned it. But, he’s right. There are specific cues I look out for. I tend to like men who are wise, sarcastic, a little closed off, but who are humanitarians at heart. I’m not sure why, but this combination is always endearing to me. Everyone is unique, and what we find to be interesting or beautiful is essential to what attracts us in the first place.

8. Readiness

The more you are seeking to build a meaningful relationship with someone, the more you are likely to fall in love with your potential partner. Attraction doesn’t last as long if you’re not looking for anything special, because you learn not to get attached. If you’re in a time and place where you’re constantly on the go, it leaves you less time to get to know someone more intimately.

9. Isolation

Spending time alone with someone gives you two the chance to get to know each other on a deeper level. This helps form stronger attraction between the both of you. This is why planning dates in low key settings that offer more privacy is a good way to grow closer to someone.

 

10. Mystery

Closed books are often more interesting than people who lay their cards down all at once. This is because being able to discover the different layers of someone over time helps sustain the passion. You never know what you’re going to uncover, which adds to the excitement.

Which of these factors do you find most attractive? Leave a comment down below!

 

References:

Brogaard, B. (2017, September 27). Can Scientists Forecast Attraction? Psychology Today. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Catherine Huang
Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

2 Comments

  1. This is an extremely well written article, and the personal touch you have added through your anecdotes adds an extra level of enjoyment when reading it. I believe you could develop some of the points further by including some more psychological studies (such as the triangular theory of love) as you begin the article from a well researched standpoint. This will create a sense of trust in readers as they are more inclined to trust research, as well as also providing a deeper psychological scope to the article. There were two grammatical errors in the intro paragraph:
    – ‘a list of what you look for’ should read as ‘a list of what to look for’
    – ‘the success of online dating isn’t likely from the result of algorithms that calculates’ should be ‘isn’t likely the result of algorithms that calculate’.

    Overall this was fluidly written and enjoyable to read!

    1. Hi Rosie, thanks so much for reading. =) I’ve never heard of the triangle of love theory, I will have to check it out! Thanks for recommending it. And thank you for catching those grammatical errors! I just fixed them. I’m glad you found it to be an enjoyable read! I love inserting personal anecdotes whenever I can to make pieces come alive. Thanks for your help! I hope you have a great day!

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