Like a Moth to a Flame

What is attraction?

Posted Nov 03, 2015

Pixabay/Public Domain
Source: Pixabay/Public Domain

Chemistry. Some people have it when they first meet while others take time to develop that special connection. Some people don’t have it at all. Attraction is a curious thing, the magnetic fascination and pull between two people is based on many factors but it cannot fully be explained in many cases. Of course you can be physically attractive, but people are also attracted to the passion, personality, charisma, confidence etc. of another person.

Attraction is a highly unique concept that is sculpted by personal likes and dislikes. These preferences are in turn formed from years of experience, education and environmental influences. However, there is some science and psychology that can reconcile how attraction forms and develops between people.

As unsexy and clinical as it may be, there are a number factors you can control that have predictive power over just how attractive you are considered by the opposite sex.

  • Appearance

Facial and physical characteristics are among the first things that you assess and judge a person on when meeting them. These characteristics are even more important if you are subconsciously analysing a man or women as a potential mate. A mathematical theory known as the Golden Ratio points towards the existence of certain facial features and body shapes which are scientifically proven to be attractive. These aesthetic concerns appeal to the part of your brain which finds great pleasure in symmetry. Physical symmetry also indicates genetic health.

However, this emphasis on facial symmetry neglects many other facets of physical attraction and is quite limited in scope. Genetic hardwiring likely has some part to play in the development of attraction. Voluptuous, wide hipped women and broad shouldered ‘v’ shaped men are among the most attractive human specimens because of their greater potential for successful child rearing and stronger, healthier offspring. It’s important to remember that your looks are not the most important thing in the world when it comes to attraction. Besides, hitting the gym and lowering your body fat along with getting some nice clothes and a good haircut can go a long way in improving your appearance.  

  • Personality

Personality is touted as the most important aspect of attraction. In many ways, this assertion is impossible to argue with. Similar to appearance, what people desire from another person when it comes to personality is variable and reliant upon past experience. There are some traits which are seen as highly important when it comes to the personality. These characteristics include: honesty, humour, confidence, kindness and leadership. It is likely that a myriad of factors have influenced the importance of these qualities. For instance, societal pressure and media attention, familial discussion and even faith play a large part in sculpting your own core values and favoured personality types. Alternatively, there is an array of personalities and characteristics which can destroy attraction between people. 

 “Actions speak louder than words’; this quote has withstood the test of time and change for a reason. The type of person you are attracted to depends on how they act. What a person would do for another human being in different situations will determine whether they are a good man or woman and that may very well be the defining factor in attraction. What attracts two people will be unexplainable in many cases and perhaps it is this unknown quantity that makes attraction such an ethereal and wonderful thing.

  • Availability

Research shows that the single most desirable thing about someone is how available they are. But hold on there, this isn’t the same as how in demand they are. There is plenty of evidence suggesting that popular or sought after products tend to be more desirable than those shunned. Because humans don’t always monopolise each other, and stalking someone isn’t the same as dating them, it is quite possible for someone to be very much in demand but still available, at least in some sense.

It might sound stupid, but the best way to communicate availability is by demonstrating it. Walk up to people; start a conversation, make a connection. Showing up is not enough.

People respond far better to open body language than to any hairstyle or series of incisive comments. Opening up the torso and chest indicates availability, whereas crossing your arms, holding a glass in front of you, or staring down at your smartphone doesn’t (the latter also suggests other things about you).

Additionally research suggests that when we can’t see someone’s hands, we implicitly assume they are hiding something, and we consequently distrust them. Don’t put your hands in your pockets or under the table.