Why do we love the people we love? What is it about our relationship with them that makes us come to care for them in such a sincere and profound way? The answer is simple – it’s the emotional attraction we feel towards them!
Whether it’s with our friends, family members, or significant others, emotional attraction is a key ingredient in what makes us our bonds with those around us so meaningful and intimate. Deeper and more lasting than mere physical attraction, emotional attraction is what happens when we learn to love someone for who they truly are and discover that there is more to them than meets the eye. Physical attraction is immediate and intense, but also superficial and fleeting; while emotional attraction is much more gradual, stable, and intimate.
With that said, here are 8 tell-tale signs that can help you better understand if what you are feeling for someone may already be emotional attraction:
1. You feel understood by them.
When we feel understood by someone, it’s easy to be around them. We get along with them so well because we share a lot of the same interests, experiences, feelings, and opinions as we do. With them, things are never forced or awkward, but instead, fun, easy, and relaxed. They put us at ease with their presence and make us feel comfortable enough to be completely ourselves. And because we’re so open and genuine with them, we connect with them on a deeper, more meaningful level (Emulf, 2016).
2. You love talking to them.
Do you have long, late-night conversations with this person that you wish would never end? Do you feel time go by a lot faster when you’re talking to them? Or lose yourself in the moment, laughing and exchanging stories together? Enjoying another person’s company and conversation is a good sign of emotional attraction (McCroskey & McCain, 2010). Whether it’s over the phone or in person, you just love talking to this person! And no matter how many hours you spend with them, you never seem to run out of things to talk about because you find them so endlessly fascinating and engaging.
3. You admire a lot of their qualities.
Whether it’s their sense of humor, their intelligence, their kindness, or their many other admirable qualities, you can’t help but gush about them to anyone who’s willing to listen. You have a lot of respect for them as a person and you make sure they know it. You compliment them all the time and you keep finding reasons why they’re so great. You even appreciate all their little quirks and mannerisms, like the way they laugh or the way they move, because you feel so emotionally attracted to them.
4. Your values are in sync.
One of the greatest things about human nature is that no matter how different two people may be, as long as they share the same core values, they are able to connect and relate to one another in a personal and meaningful way. Defined as the fundamental beliefs and principles a person upholds, our core values shape a lot of our attitudes and world views. So when we find someone whose beliefs and virtues perfectly align with ours, we can’t help but gravitate towards them and become emotionally invested in our relationship with them (Burns & Cardellini, 2013).
5. You care about their opinion.
When you’re emotionally attracted to someone, it’s only natural that you would want to seek out their approval and value their opinion. You care about what they think and you take their feelings into careful consideration because you want to keep them in your life and you want your relationship to last. It also shows that you appreciate them for their thoughts, ideas, and views, instead of just for their looks or their charms. The feelings that you have for them stem from something much deeper than physical attraction or romantic chemistry.
6. You turn to them for advice.
Asking someone for their advice conveys a strong sense of trust and solidarity that you feel towards the other person (Whitman, 2009). It tells them that you feel accepted by them and know that they will support you no matter what. You know that they always have your best interests at heart, so you turn to them whenever you’re struggling with something. It also means that you view them as a dependable source of comfort, understanding, and empathy — all of which can only be cultivated by feelings of emotional attraction towards one another.
7. You never get sick of each other.
If you only feel physical attraction for someone, it’s not going to last. Sooner or later, you’re going to get bored of them and move on to the next person who catches your eye. But if what you feel for them is rooted in emotional attraction, no amount of time you spend together will ever make you lose interest in them. They make you happy and you love being around them. Even after countless conversations and get-togethers, you still look forward to spending time with them and getting to see them because of how close you feel with them.
8. You can be vulnerable with them.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, being able to let our guard down around someone and let them see us at our most vulnerable is a definite sign of emotional attraction. You are comfortable letting them see you cry or get emotional, as well as telling them about your personal struggles because of how strongly you connect with them on an emotional level. And this emotional connection has fostered a lot of intimacy, love, care, and trust between the two of you (Huston, 2013).
So, do you relate to any of the signs mentioned here? Have you ever felt physically attracted to someone, but not emotionally? Or perhaps the other way around? Though physical attraction is what sparks our interest and draws our attention, it’s because of emotional attraction that our relationships endure and become more meaningful over time. It strengthens our bonds with the people we love and deepens our feelings for them. Simply put, physical attraction may be the reason why we like someone, but only emotional attraction can make us fall in love with them.
- Ernulf, K. E. (2016). Studies on the bases of sexual attraction and its variants.
- McCroskey, J. C., & McCain, T. A. (2010). The measurement of interpersonal attraction.
- Burns, E., & Cardellini, H. (2013). Emotional experience in close relationships. Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Interpersonal processes, 308-330.
- Whitman, B. P. (2009). Affiliation, attraction and close relationships. Thousand Oaks, California.
- Huston, T. L. (Ed.). (2013). Foundations of interpersonal attraction. Elsevier.