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What Attracts You To Someone?

It’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you are cynical or sweet about February 14th, there is no doubt that everyone harbours a desire in their hearts to be found attractive to another. And to be told so publicly and showered with gifts? Even better! In today’s Therapists Thoughts blog post our London-based therapist Teyhou Smyth shares some insights into attraction with us. What is it? How does it work? How can we be more attractive? So if you are embracing the love today or maybe just as a guilty little pleasure – read on!

flamingo attraction

Poets, philosophers and researchers having been trying to figure out the rules of attraction for centuries. While Shakespeare had some good ideas with his sonnets, we have learned a lot more about what attracts us to other people in the past few decades. Some of it may surprise you about what people find attractive.

The Rules of Attraction

Attraction isn’t only about looks. It’s also about a certain primal magnetism. Of course, we can be physically attracted to someone, and that can vary from person to person what is the most attractive part of the body. But, we are more often drawn to their confidence, passion and personality. Being attractive is about more than just appearance, it is about who the person is and how they act.

This may sound easy to follow, but let’s look at this further. Not only is attraction the basis of finding a romantic partner, but we are also attracted to work with certain people. We are attracted to certain friendships. We are even attracted to certain coffee shops because we like their vibe, their menu or their location.

Attractiveness is an essential part of understanding what motivates people to move in certain ways and to go to certain places. Advertisers have known this for decades and have used it to attract people to this supermarket, or to buy that car.

Let’s look at what is known about attraction, and what attracts people in general. Remember this is a generalization. Some people may be attracted to strong women, others may be attracted to wealthy men, or short middle-aged women, or whatever. There is individuality in what attracts us, but there is some generalizability too.


Now there are some physical attributes that aid in attractiveness across the population. One of the most general that hits everyone is size. This goes both ways, male and female. Women are attracted to men bigger and taller than themselves. Men are attracted to women smaller than themselves. With men looking at women, they’re also attracted to the size of their hips, waist and bust. There’s a ratio thing going on there that will subconsciously make men swoon. And remember it’s a ratio, so not a particular bust size or hips, but how everything relates as a whole


You know the expression opposites attract? Well, ignore it. Opposites really don’t attract. Being similar to your partner is what makes for a successful long-term relationship. Research backs up that more successful and lasting relationships are ones where the partners are more similar to one another.

And even with initial attraction, looking the same, similar in upbringing, similar in race and similar in style, makes for a stronger attraction. You’re more likely to fall for someone who looks more like you.

Be Interesting

Our brains are like really hungry toddlers, they are easily bored and demand to be fed with entertaining nuggets of stimulation. Being good looking simply isn’t enough. Researchers have discovered that the brain has a very short attention span. Our brains are attracted to intriguing, interesting, engaging people and things.

Sometimes we act boring because we are afraid of being seen as weird or different. So, we have the same the mind-numbingly boring social script of, “What do you do?” and “Where are you from?”

We don’t share how we really feel, we hide our quirks and try to fit in. Fitting in is dull and unattractive.Our fear of not fitting in makes us boring.

Make It Fast

Don’t let anyone tell you different, and if you are honest with yourself, you know this already. People judge you the moment you walk in the room. If we get rid of social niceties and get down to the science, attraction happens in the first 30 seconds. And, as much as we don’t like to admit it, our brain decides if we are attracted to someone else almost instantly.

Research shows we know if we want to sleep with someone in the first 30 seconds of meeting them. They have studied hundreds of couples in love and found that the human body knows within one second whether someone is physically attractive or not.

We might not realize it, but our brains make incredibly accurate and long-lasting snap judgements in the first few seconds of meeting a new person.


What turns you on? Eyes? Humor? Legs? A person’s most attractive trait is their availability. Yet, this is one of the most overlooked aspects of how people work. And this is important for every area of life.

In dating it is about physical availability, you ask yourself, will this person have sex with me.

In friends and long-term romantic partners, it is about emotional availability. You ask yourself, will this person open up to me.

In business it is about economic and intellectual availability, and you ask, will this person work well with me and can we succeed.

The best way to show availability whether it is at a networking event, party, business meeting or date is by demonstrating availability. Show people you want to connect, talk and start a relationship. Showing up is not enough. You have to show people you are emotionally available to connect.

Body Language

One final reason to be attracted to someone is based on nonverbal communication. You can also use body language to show availability and increase your attractiveness in interactions.

Open body language is more attractive than any outfit, hairstyle or dance move. Here are two pieces of information about body language and attractiveness:

Open Torso:

Body language research has shown that keeping your torso, chest and abdomen open to the world is best way to show availability.

Crossed arms, clutching a wine glass in front of your stomach, checking a phone in front of your chest or hugging a purse to your center are all ways we could seem unavailable.

Studies have shown that we actually close our body language when we are feeling mentally closed off.


We love to see people’s hands. Studies have found that when we can’t see people’s hands we have trouble trusting them.

When you put your hands in your pockets, tuck them under the table or hide them behind a coat, your attractiveness decreases because people can’t open up to you.

Attractiveness has many individual characteristics to it.

While one person may like blondes, another may like the shaved head look, and both are equally valid measures of attractiveness to that one person.

But looking at us all as a population, we can see that there are some characteristics that are generally attractive to everyone.

By using what has been presented here, you can help increase your attractiveness to others, as well as know more about who is attractive to you.

[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website www.livingwithfinesse.com]

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