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Who Will Find You Attractive?

Learn these 3 useful tips.

Key points

  • Key attraction principles include proximity, reciprocity and similarity.
  • Who we find attractive, and who finds us attractive is not random.
Jack Fuller, used with permission
Who Finds Whom Attractive?
Source: Jack Fuller, used with permission

There is good science behind the study of attraction. We know quite a lot about who finds whom attractive. It’s not random, and, in fact, it can be fairly predictable. There are a few principles that can explain why people find each other.

Principle #1 is Proximity

People with whom you have fairly regular contact are more likely to seem attractive to you and to find you attractive. This principle involves "the mere exposure" effect which refers to our preference for people, things, places, anything really (even letters and symbols) which are familiar to us.

This works in our favor if we want someone to find us attractive—being around, seeing them fairly regularly, or making a point to check in can be strategies that improve our attractiveness in their eyes. Up to a point. If their initial reaction to us was negative, mere exposure will heighten their negative feelings.

Remember, nobody likes to feel hounded—you have to share time and space with this person in a way that keeps things comfortable.

Principle #2 is Reciprocity

People we like are more likely to like us (and those we dislike are more likely to dislike us). This sounds simple, but so often people are caught up in trying to make someone like them who clearly does not. It represents a colossal waste of time, energy, and resources plus ultimately is demoralizing.

On the other hand, many people do not express their interest or attraction due to shyness. Often, they then wonder why nobody ever approaches them or likes them back.

Tips that I consistently give to those trying to connect are to communicate approachability in the following ways:

  • A wide smile
  • Strong eye contact (don't glare or stare, keep it light but direct)
  • Open body language (keep your arms and hands fairly open, and put your phone away)
  • Say something positive or funny

You want to be a person who is easy to talk to, seems happy, and who is comfortable in their skin—it's a strong draw.

Principle #3 is Similarity

You might assume that opposites attract, but most research indicates that they don't, at least not often. Even when people seem to be different, they are in fact matching on something important. We attract and are attracted to people who seem to have a similar background, a similar level of attractiveness, and similar values to us.

Below is a video that captures these three main principles: proximity, reciprocity, and similarity.

More from Lucia F. O'Sullivan Ph.D.
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