The Laws of Attraction

The amount of people in the past few weeks who have asked me to turn what I’ve learned in my current Sex, Relationships and Communication class with Daniel Degooyer into something they can study is amazing. Why is it we’re so fascinated with how relationships work? How to effectively flirt and draw in those around you? What truly makes someone attractive?

I think a lot of this, like everything in life, stems from our desire for power. If we can understand how these things work, we’ll be able to more effectively control the people around us, as well as the outcomes of our own social interactions. I get it. I also believe that the more effective communicators we are, the better the world will be as a whole, so I’ve decided to help you out. Full disclaimer though, I’m no expert, and all I am going off are these basic principles we’ve been reading about and discussing the past few weeks, a couple documentaries and my own life experiences. But hey, here goes nothing.

Q: What makes someone attractive?
A: There are many, many things that can contribute to the fact you find someone attractive. Obviously the most dominant factor is someone’s appearance, but personality and proximity also play a bigger role than you may think.

  • Physical Symmetry: Ever heard of the Golden Ratio? Believe it or not, someone’s physical attractiveness can be boiled down down to mathematics. Obviously this isn’t the only factor, but it’s the one of the most basic which influences how traditionally attractive we find someone to be. It’s also proven that we tend to like people with similar face shapes as our own.

  • Personality: If someone is warm, generally positive and shows concern for others, we find them more attractive. If someone is social and able to communicate easily among a group of people, we find them more attractive. And if someone is clearly competent, composed, smart and self-confident, we’ll find them more attractive too.

  • Proximity: How closely available someone is to you can sometimes outweigh similarity as a basis for attraction, which might explain why so many people find relationships in the workplace and other close-quarters experiences.

  • Biology:  On a certain level, it all comes down to genetics. How attractive someone smells to you might seem trivial but it actually is your body telling you taht your gene pools are different enough you could have healthy children. And ladies, we really do look subtly more attractive the closer to ovulation we are.

  • Physical Environment: The physical environment you interact with someone in can actually affect how attractive you find them. For example, think of the difference between meeting someone at a warmly-lit bar versus next to a dumpster. Even if subconsciously, it impacts how you perceive them and the experience as a whole.

  • Social Environment: Approval from family and friends definitely promotes attraction, but of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet?

  • Social Media: Who cares what my Facebook says about me, right? Wrong. Science has proven again and again that people with more engaging social media pages, with great pictures and more positive interaction from friends on them are seen as more attractive.

  • Culturally-Specific Values: Depending on the culture and environment you grow up in, you may find certain traits more attractive than others in an other. Some cultures value rounder women, pale skin, whereas others emphasize thinness and perfect tans, and depending on the one you grew up in you’re probably going to find those traits more attractive.

  • Personal Reward Perception: If we believe that someone will offer us more rewards than costs, we will be more attracted to them. Plain and simple, if you think your life would benefit by having them in it, you’re going to want to get them in it.

  • Personal Expectations: Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? If you go into something expecting people to be a certain way, those are the things you’re going to notice first. In fact, most of the time the way we treat those around us in makes them more likely to confirm our expectations. Think the good looking guy has to be a jerk? Chances are, if he makes one slightly rude comment your expectation will be fulfilled and your mind made up. On the other hand, if they defy all your expectations, you may be so drawn to them it won’t matter how physically perfect they are. Personal expectations can work both ways as far as attraction goes.

  • Similarity (to a certain degree): Similar communication styles? Check. Identical food tastes? Maybe not. Things like similar music, tv and movie interests can make someone seem more attractive, but at the same time, for some it is actually more difficult to stay interested someone exactly like them. Variety is the spice of life, and typically makes for more interesting conversations.

Q: Are all feelings of attraction the same?
A: No. In fact, there are four distinct types of attraction, and while you may feel all of them for a person it’s also very possible to just experience one or two. There is power in being able to distinguish them for yourself.

  1. Physical Attraction: Being attracted to a person in the sense that you find their physical presence pleasing.
  2. Social Attraction: Being attracted to a person in regards to how they may fit in with your social group or you would benefit from theirs.
  3. Task Attraction: Attraction as a desire to work with them, to utilize and benefit from their skill set.
  4. Sexual Attraction: The most commonly thought of as ‘attraction’–a physical desire to be intimate with them.

The Laws of Attraction
: So Hannah, tell me how to flirt better.
A: Of course, reader. Surprisingly few people actually understand the basic principles behind how people flirt, so I’ve listed some of the most effective ways people show their interest for one another below. Study up, test them out, and let me know how it goes!

  1. The Laws of AttractionSay hello! You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t first introduce yourself. Be friendly, make an impression. Whenever you see them, make sure you show them you genuinely care about them. And if you’re really interested, put yourself out there and make the effort to see them again. Nothing great’s ever achieved without a little risk.

    The Laws of Attraction

  2. Listen to them. Like really listen. Don’t just hear the words they’re saying–take into account what they’re also not saying, what their body’s saying for them. Do their eyes light up when they talk about something? Are they more reserved in certain settings, or just slower to open up to people? How closely are they positioning themselves to you? How much eye contact are they making? There’s a lot more going in every social interaction  we have than most people realize.

  3. The Laws of AttractionMake eye contact. If you refuse to make consistent eye contact with someone, they’re not going to trust you, let alone think you’re interested in them. Plus, the majority of our communication with one another is non verbal, so use those eyes. They’ll say more for you than your words ever will.

  4. Use people’s names. Whether they realize it or not, everyone loves it when you do. It not only shows you specifically care about them but it immediately makes you feel a little closer with them. Don’t use it to the point of being obnoxious, but definitely throw it in there every now and then if you want to show you like them.

    The Laws of Attraction

  5. Get physically close. If you brush their arm, hug them, even just stand closer to them than you normally would it shows attraction and interest. Generally speaking, if your feet are pointing towards each other, you’re interested.

  6. The Laws of AttractionBe genuinely interested in them. The best way to keep people interested is to by being genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Not only be a good listener but ask them questions, be engaged and in turn they’ll find you engaging. People love talking about themselves.

  7. The Laws of AttractionSmile! Again, things like warmth, joy and confidence are very attractive so don’t be afraid to use them to your advantage! Relax, be yourself, have a little fun and make the most of every situation and you’ll be a pro in no time.

More on this later.


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