Can we make someone fall in love with us? What is the basis for the physical attraction of people to each other? A variety of articles and books offer advice on how to attract potential partners. In them, according to social psychologist Daniel Stalder, you can find a lot of misconceptions, but also useful information.
Stalder lists five “pillars” on which the physical attraction of people to each other is built.
There is external beauty, and then we are talking about classical physical attraction or “chemistry”. But there is also inner beauty, which refers to character or spiritual qualities. Another can be attracted by how we look and what kind of person we are. Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Of course, there are generally accepted standards of beauty that can vary from culture to culture and from decade to decade, depending on who is currently holding the Hollywood “throne.” Clothing, hair, and makeup can provide some benefits.
But even within the same culture and era, ideas about beauty differ significantly. This is called “type” or “trait”. We can find something attractive in a person who at first seemed uninteresting to us, and vice versa.
Our preferences can be influenced by TV shows, films and programs we watch
We are driven by biases, which can come from different sources. For example, the stereotypes of the group to which we ourselves or the desired partner belong: racial, religious, professional, and so on. Or perhaps the person is simply reminding of a previous partner.
TV shows, movies and programs we watch can influence our preferences. In particular, research shows that after a massive viewing of a beauty pageant on the big screen, most of us would rate potential partners with average physical characteristics as much less interesting.
It is also important that there are also features that are considered attractive almost everywhere. For example, in women, this is kindness, facial symmetry and a certain ratio of waist to hips. But mostly beauty is still a subjective concept.
It turns out that the more often two people see each other, the more chances they will be drawn to each other. This is called the simple stimulus effect. At the same time, proximity is an important but insufficient condition for mutual attraction.
Birds of a feather flock together. People who are close in appearance, beliefs, interests, and more are attracted most of all. After all, if someone likes what we do, he has good taste!
Such reasoning is generated by a healthy ego, since imitation is the highest form of flattery. Plus, sharing views and interests will allow two people to have a good time together, as opposed to communicating with someone who thinks the other’s hobbies are stupid and disagrees with him or her on matters of principle.
Do not go to extremes. A romantic partner will never be our clone
According to Daniel Stadler, there is only one dimension that supports the idea of ”opposites attract”, namely submission and dominance. Dominant personality types tend to be attractive to those who love to be ordered, and vice versa.
However, you should not go to extremes. A romantic partner will never be our clone. There will always be differences, moreover, over time they can start to upset and annoy us. But this is a natural stage that a couple goes through.
4. Realizing that someone else likes us
Stalder calls this factor the most difficult. We are more likely to feel attracted to someone else if we know we like them. Again, the ego is to blame. If someone thinks we are attractive, then he or she has good taste. When we ourselves show interest in him, he also begins to think that we can choose the best. This can create a cycle in which mutual attraction grows.
“A well-intentioned colleague may lie to me about the woman I work with and tell me that she likes me, even if it’s not true. His words will arouse my interest in her, this woman will notice him and begin to feel attracted to me, – Stalder gives an example. – We’re going on a date – and voila! – in six months we announce our engagement. Is it possible? Absolutely, if we assume that we have common interests with her and we are at least somewhat attractive to each other. “
5. Non-sexual arousal
It turns out that the brain can be deceived in this. Such arousal can be mistaken for sexual, which will increase the attractiveness of the partner. In a study where subjects walked across a dangerous suspension bridge, men confused the physiological arousal caused by a wobbly bridge with an attraction to a woman walking across it. Heart palpitations and breathing were not originally attributed to her, but “turned” into evidence of sexual arousal.
This effect is called arousal misdirection and can be exploited by having a first date on a roller coaster or watching a horror movie.
“So, if you want to interest someone, try going through the list. Try to look your best for your partner’s “type”. Make it so that your paths cross, but avoid pursuit. Pay attention to what your similarities are, at least by looking at the pages of a potential partner in social networks. Make sure your interest in this person is visible – but again, don’t overdo it and harass him. Finally, try a roller coaster ride together on one of the first dates, ”Stalder suggests with some irony.
Of course, you need to understand that for each couple, the paths of love are unique. But as soon as two people have a relationship, they begin to look more and more like each other and feel more and more attracted. Passion helps both downplay the shortcomings of those around them and lower the attractiveness of other potential partners.
Love is blind and it has a positive meaning. And not only because the roller coaster can deceive her. So some delusions have a right to exist, helping in love.
About the author: Daniel Stalder is a social psychologist.