Love can be a mysterious thing. It’s one of those thrills that really makes us feel alive, and experiencing it for yourself can change your entire perspective on life. Love is undeniably magical – something that we’ll probably never truly understand, and it’s a weird mix of both science and intuition. For this reason, it would be insulting to the very concept of love simply to reduce it to a “life hack” article that can teach you how to make your crush fall head over heels in love with you. It just doesn’t work that way, and we don’t claim to hold the secrets you need to kick-start your love life.

That being said, there are some undeniable facts about attraction and love from a psychological perspective that may be of interest to you. Attraction is one of the most studied parts of social psychology, and it’s a huge part of what makes us human. While our “mating rituals” can’t be summed up with a simple “how-to” guide, learning about the way we attract others can be a useful thing. There are definitely some interesting theories, studies, and facts that might prove useful when you’re trying to attract that one special someone…

Learn How To Make A Good First Impression 

By far one of the most effective ways of attracting someone is by making a great first impression. This might be disappointing to some people out there – because if you’ve already met the love of your life, you can’t rewind time and “remake” a good first impression, can you? It’s something to keep in mind when you meet someone new, and quite honestly it’s something that we can’t often control. But going the extra mile to present yourself in the best light possible goes a long way during that crucial moment when you first meet someone.

In fact, that “crucial moment” could be as short as thirty seconds, researchers have found. According to various studies, someone makes up their mind about whether they want to be with someone within half a minute of meeting them! And those impressions last. This means you have a very short window with which to win the person over. This might seem impossible – and sometimes it is… There’s often nothing you can do to change the fact that someone just doesn’t find you attractive. BUT… If you know how important first impressions are, you stand a better chance.

Put Yourself Out There

Sometimes the most important thing about attracting others is just getting yourself out there. We know, that’s kind of vague, but sometimes the simplest tips are the best. Although it may sound obvious, tons of people fail to do this one simple thing – Let them know you’re available. Most people won’t make a move or open themselves up to a possibility of a relationship unless they know you’re looking for romance. You can’t expect people to be able to read your minds… Sometimes, you have to drop some strong hints that you’re available.

In fact, some research has shown that “availability” is the most attractive trait someone can possibly exhibit. That’s right, it’s more important than having a nice smile, nice legs, or even nice eyes. Our interest level is automatically raised when we know someone else is looking for a partner. Obviously, you don’t need to make it obvious (announcing loudly to a room that your single – not a good idea), but you can’t be that person who stands in a corner at a party and then wonders why nobody is flirting with you.

Mere Exposure Effect

We’re sure that tons of our readers have experienced this first hand. Ever felt like you’re gradually falling in love with someone you spend a lot of time with, like a fellow student or a co-worker? That’s the magic of the Mere Exposure Effect at work. No – you haven’t been shot with an arrow by a cupid, it’s actually slightly more complex than that. Basically, the Mere Exposure Effect states that the more time you spend with someone, the more attracted to them you’re likely to be.

In the past, researchers have found that students who live closer together were more likely to be friends than those who lived further away from each other. Another study proved that women who attended class more often were seen as more attractive by the men who attended the same class. So how can you implement this into your search for love? Well, you can start by spending more time with them – just don’t be that person who follows them around everywhere. Then it gets creepy.

Chameleon Effect

We’ve actually mentioned this interesting psychological effect in previous articles, and it works wonders in the world of attraction as well. Whether you’re trying to get someone to agree with you or fall in love with you, the Chameleon Effect is always a safe bet. This is what happens when someone starts to feel more agreeable to another based on their subtle copying of body language and mannerisms. Basically, if you copy someone’s movements and look for subtle cues, they will subconsciously see you as an attractive, likable person.

But don’t get carried away! You don’t want to make it seem too obvious, or copy every little thing that they do. They could get weirded out or think that you’re making fun of them. It’s all about subtlety here. For example, if they nod their head while talking, you might want to do the same. If they stand with their weight shifted onto one leg, perhaps adopt a similar stance. If you can do this without being too “fake,” you might stand a greater chance at attracting someone you like.

Matching Hypothesis

This is definitely one of the strangest and most interesting theories out there, but it totally makes sense when you think about it. The Matching Hypothesis is something that you can see for yourself when you look at most couples – ever notice the fact that they mostly look equally attractive? Well as it turns out, that’s no accident. The Matching Hypothesis states that people are more likely to be attracted to those who are just as attractive as they are. You might want to be with the most beautiful person in school, but don’t expect the feeling to be mutual.

In fact, if you ever find yourself in a relationship with someone who is notably more attractive than you are, they are statistically less likely to feel satisfied in the relationship. So it pays not to set your goals too high, both when you’re trying to attract people and after you’ve already established a relationship with them. And besides, why would you want to be in a relationship with someone based purely on looks, anyway? We all know that a person’s personality is way more important…

Pratfall Effect

Relax! Don’t try to be perfect! That’s something that many of us wish we could do when trying to attract that special someone, but sadly it’s much easier said than done. A lot of us have a tendency to really tense up when we’re around people we have crushes on, and that’s just natural. The good news is that it means that you care – the bad news is that if you keep trying to be perfect, it could seriously backfire on you. This is due to something called the Pratfall Effect, and it’s something you should really keep in mind…

Basically, what the Pratfall Effect boils down to is the fact that people are actually attracted to those who reveal their flaws. That’s right, imperfection is actually seen as attractive for most people, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. You can’t be making mistakes left, right and center – you still have to come off as a competent person. But if you make one or two mistakes here and there, that special someone might just think of you as more relatable and “human.” So seriously, relax.

Tell Them A Secret And Ask About Their Own Secrets

Is there anything more intimate than telling someone a secret? Confessing something deep and personal to another person is something that requires trust, affection and a sense of shared values. Secrets are earned, and if you tell someone something extremely confidential and personal, they might actually feel more attracted to you as a result. This is known in the psychological world as Self-Disclosure, and you can use this to your advantage if you’re trying to get someone’s attention.

And at the end of the day, it always feels good to get stuff off your chest. Even if the person doesn’t end up attracted to you, it’s guaranteed to be an intimate moment. Sometimes, these intimate moments can lead to something more… You never know. If all is going well, you might want to ask them to share a secret with you in return, which will lead to even higher levels of intimacy and trust. Studies have shown that personal questions almost always lead to higher levels of attraction, as opposed to “small talk.”

Body Language

We could probably write an entire article on body language and how it affects human attraction. Humans may not dance and put on displays like other creatures in the animal kingdom during their mating rituals… but if you look close, we also have our own ways of telling each other we’re interested – without saying a single word. And the truth is that many people may be sending the wrong messages through body language without even knowing it.

Some of us have a tendency to cross our hands or arms in front of our torso, blocking it off in a protective manner. This actually sends the message that we’re unavailable, as research shows. Instead, open up your torso to show that your available. Studies also show that people seem to have trouble trusting those who don’t show their hands. So get your hands out of your pockets and leave them in a natural position. Smiling and eye contact have also been shown as incredibly important when it comes to attraction and building intimacy.

Get Your Adrenaline Flowing

While climbing to the top of a building and taking a selfie with your crush is probably a very bad idea, it might help to do something thrilling with the person that you’re interested in. We all know that amusement parks are some of the most popular date locations, and it always makes sense to do something interesting and fun when spending time with someone that you’re trying to win over. As it turns out, spending time with someone in a situation where your adrenaline is pumping can be really helpful in terms of attraction.

A 1974 study proved that when men were doing something that caused anxiety and thrilling sensations, they were more likely to be attracted to people that they would otherwise find uninteresting. Researchers called this the “misattribution of arousal.” Basically, what this means is that the human brain is confusing the feelings of anxiety with the feelings of arousal and attraction. So you might really want to consider going with your crush to an amusement park or a similarly “thrilling” location. Maybe a scary movie would work too…

The Gain-Loss Theory

We’ve all heard about the supposed benefits of “playing hard to get.” There are those who believe that you should never act too interested in someone, and instead of throwing themselves at their crush’s feet, these people make it a little more of a challenge for the people they’re interested in. This tactic can definitely backfire, and some have found out the hard way that playing hard to get just ends in confusion and loneliness. But what if you really don’t like the person when you first meet, but gradually warm up to them?

Well, researchers have found that this gradual shift in feelings could cause attraction. A study found that if test subjects “accidentally” overheard someone saying negative things about them, they were more likely to be attracted to them if they later heard them saying positive things about them. If someone feels like you’ve changed your opinion of them from bad to good, they seem to think that they’ve “earned” your praise and trust, and that your feelings towards them are more genuine. But before you go insulting everyone you meet, know that this will probably only work if you actually don’t like someone at first, but later “warm up to them.” You always want to be true to yourself and your own emotions.

Wear Red

This is probably one of the strangest facts about attraction that you’ll hear about, but it’s also one of the most universally agreed upon things in the world of psychology. Red is apparently the most attractive color you can possibly wear, and both men and women are more attracted to those who wear the color, strangely enough. So if you’re on your first date or you’re trying to attract the attention of that special someone, you might want to put on that red dress or shirt.

While this may seem a little random, think about all the cartoon women and famous actresses who have worn red in movies. “Jessica Rabbit” is probably the biggest cartoon symbol of the ideal female “bombshell,” and she wears a red dress. There are numerous other examples when you think about it – Celebrities on the red carpet also wear a lot of red dresses if they want to really get their fans talking. Numerous studies have found that those wearing red are more successful in dating scenarios, and some have argued that red symbolizes high status.

Make Friends With Their Friends

“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” Remember that iconic line from the Spice Girls? Well, as it turns out, these pop stars were definitely on the right track! If you’re trying to “get with” someone, it really pays to make friends with their friends. This might seem like an obvious move, but so many people approach their crushes as total outsiders, which really diminishes their chances of making it work. If you know the same people, and are friends with the same people, your chances go through the roof.

Psychologists have a name for this phenomenon – it’s called triadic closure. There have been many studies on this effect, but perhaps the most interesting one comes from a scenario that we can all relate to – social media. How many times have you had a friend request from some random person that you turned down? By contrast, how many times have you had a friend request from someone with a “mutual friend” that you accepted? As a recent study found, we’re always more likely to accept someone if they have the same friends as us.

A Sense Of Humor Doesn’t Hurt

So many people make the classic mistake of taking themselves way too seriously when it comes to pursuing relationships. Like we’ve said before, you’ll thank yourself if you just relax. It’s not a life and death scenario… you can afford to smile, show your flaws, and above all – laugh! A sense of humor will always be deemed attractive, as numerous studies have found. The vast majority of people will warm up to you way faster if you can make them laugh and share a few giggles together.

While some people aren’t the best at sharing jokes and being the “class clown,” it’s something everyone should at least make an effort with. Although you might be trying to come across as a morally upstanding, ethical citizen to the people you are attracted to, that’s not always the best impression you can make. Studies have shown that people with high moral values are actually considered less attractive than those with a great sense of humor…

Know How To Touch Them

Although touching is seen by many as something you should only do after you know someone is interested in you, there’s a little bit of leeway here. Although you definitely don’t want to be touching someone in a suggestive or invasive way after just meeting them, there are some subtle things you can do which can aid in attraction – without the other person really noticing it. Women especially seem to do this on a subconscious level, without really thinking about it.

Examples would be touching a man’s arm very subtly and briefly during a conversation, or tapping on their shoulder to get their attention. These actions are extremely innocent and do not always indicate attraction. But on a deep, unconscious level there is always a heightened sense of intimacy when physical touching is involved – however brief and innocent. There have been numerous studies on this effect, and it’s known in the psychology world as Subliminal Touching.

Be Yourself

While this article might seem like a lot of information to keep track of, don’t worry too much about it! Not only have we saved the best for last, but also the simplest of instructions – Be yourself! While it may seem tempting to go out and try all these “psychological mind tricks” on people you’re trying to attract, your efforts will fall flat on your face if you’re not being true to yourself. The Pratfall Effect may have a strong influence on people, but that doesn’t mean you should go out there and pretend to be clumsy in the hopes of attracting people. The Chameleon Effect may work wonders, but don’t pretend to be similar to someone if you’re not. And if you don’t have a good sense of humor? Don’t try to be the next Eddie Murphy.

Above all else, people are attracted to unique identities. And the good news is that everyone is unique. Although that might sound a little cheesy, it’s 100% true. There’s something you have deep down that nobody else has. If you show it and wear it proudly, people will find you interesting. So above all else, what’s the most important thing when it comes to attraction and love? Be yourself, and don’t try to be someone or something that you’re not!

 

References:
Baer, D. (2015, February 03). 20 weird psychological reasons someone might fall in love with you. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/weird-psychological-reasons-people-fall-in-love-2015-2#but-before-you-get-hitched-know-this-21
Learn the Psychology of Attraction. (2017, December 06). Retrieved from https://www.scienceofpeople.com/the-psychology-of-attraction/
Lebowitz, S. (2016, April 14). 17 psychological tricks to make people like you immediately. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-make-people-like-you-2016-4#-17

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Written by Jon Smith

Jon has been writing for many years, and although he writes about many subjects, he's always excited to write about the wonderful world of psychology!

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