The 12 Rules of Attraction as Explained by Science
Every game has rules, and in the game of love, rules are dictated by evolution, psychology, and biology. So let us decode attraction with these 12 rules.
Little did we know it really is all about calculation going beyond how we act and what we say to someone else. It is more about how we are biologically wired through our genes and our brains. Aside from this, much of how we find the opposite sex attractive also has something to do with every shape, angle, and curves of our faces and bodies. Therefore, the “right” person for you is governed by a complex formula dictated ultimately by the rules of attraction.
12 rules of attraction
Below we give you a short list of science-backed rules of attraction and how you can find a mate, if not for life, at least for the long haul.
#1 Hot or boring? According to our brains, being “hot” alone just won’t cut it. According to developmental molecular biologist, John Medina, the brain has a very short attention span.
As such, the brain is more drawn to people and things that are interesting, intriguing, and engaging. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you look attractive; if all you can manage off a conversation is a dull script of “How’s the weather?” then you’re out on the dating scene. [Read: 8 simple ways to stop being boring and annoying around others]
#2 30 seconds, go. Despite the quote “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the reality is, people judge you by how you look the moment you step into a room. In fact, attraction can happen instantaneously, within just a matter of seconds—30 seconds, to be exact—as research would tell you about what they scientifically call as ‘thin-slicing.’
According to this study, our brains make incredibly and, surprisingly accurate, long-lasting snap-judgments of the person we meet within just a few seconds of seeing them.
#3 Red flag. Now, if you want to catch the attention of other people, or of someone you’re dating, red is the color to wear. From red lips to red shoes, research has shown both men and women who wear red are found to be more desirable. The color is widely associated with passion, lust, romance, and fertility.
#4 Symmetry. A University of New Mexico study by evolutionary biologists have found out both men and women find attractive those members of the opposite sex who have more symmetrical faces and bodies.
This is because our brains associate good symmetry with good genes. Undesirable genetic mutations skew symmetry, and these are not good choices for mating. The study also revealed that males with more symmetry enjoy more sexual partners than those with lower or less symmetry.
#5 Body shape. While there are many skinny women on television and in the magazines, research by psychologist Devendra Singh of the University of Texas has shown men still find curves desirable. Singh studied people’s waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and this revealed men still find the hourglass figure much more desirable.
Those with a waist that is significantly narrower than the hips, particularly those with a 0.67 to 1.18 WHR, are much more attractive to men. As for women, they find desirable those guys who have 0.8 to 1.0 WHR, while men with broad shoulders are still a major turn-on. [Read: 18 physical turn ons that arouse a guy instantly]
#6 Body language. Many studies have proven time and again how an open body language is attractive to both men and women. This shows availability, which is a must in attracting people and encouraging the starting of new relationships.
Exposing your torso shows availability, while showing or even stroking your neck makes you more sexually attractive. Avoid crossing your arms on your torso, and make sure your hands are visible, as this also makes you more approachable.
#7 Face structure. Face structure is actually caused by what happens inside the body, as multiple studies through the years have shown. Estrogen contributes to bone growth in a woman’s face, particularly in her lower face, chin, and brow.
Meanwhile, testosterone shapes a man’s face, developing the lower face, jaw, and the prominent brow. Our brains automatically see such face structures as attractive, as they also show good reproductive health.
#8 Sniff and smell. A study has shown women smell and look more attractive to men at certain times of the month, as this has something to do with her hormonal cycles. Meanwhile, men with more symmetrical features are found to smell better. Additionally, women who are menstruating are also found to have a keener sense of smell, as they were more attracted to symmetrical men’s smells.
In a separate study, women and men who have particular similarities to their own genes find each other’s smells much more attractive. What’s more, many of these people can’t even detect a smell on the opposite sex’s clothes yet are still attracted, proof that the attraction goes beyond the senses to a subconscious level.
#9 Pitch perfect. Apparently, the way you sound plays a role in the rules of attraction too. Men find women with a high-pitched, trill voice more attractive. Meanwhile, men with deep voices are more desirable to women. This has something to do with hormones and both sexes’ reproductive developments, as the changes in pitch are affected by development.
Furthermore, small voices are associated with small women, which men also find more attractive; and big, deep voices in men are associated with their large size, which women also prefer.
#10 Single hottest trait. While structure, smell, and symmetry can play big roles in attraction, there’s one underrated trait that actually plays a huge part in all this: Availability. This is a true rule of attraction not only between dating people and friends, but also in other aspects of relationships such as business and socialization.
When it comes to availability, it’s not enough that you show up. You have to show you are able to connect. This is why smiling, pleasantness, and humor are big deal-makers. All these show you are physically, emotionally, and intellectually available. [Read: How to keep a conversation going with the opposite sex and appear available]
#11 True love explained. While romantic love is one of the most compelling and most powerful of all human experiences, science is still having a hard time explaining it. Still, there are studies that relentlessly trying to decode true love. In one study, the brain scans of people who say they are in love show more brain activity in areas related to love more than sex, proving true love is really more than just physical attraction.
In a separate study, it was found people looking for long-term partners found the following traits more desirable: physical attractiveness, social status, health, ambition, and faithfulness. The most desirable traits were physical appearance, family commitment, fidelity, and wealth, attributes which all relate to subconscious biological survival.
#12 A key to lasting relationships. A long-standing rule of attraction is like begets like. In fact, psychologist J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario has told LiveScience some genes work well when combined with other genes, so these tend to cause an attraction between certain people.
This is why married couples eerily look alike. Furthermore, according to Rushton, genetics play 34% in friendship and mate selection. Therefore, if you are genetically similar to your partner, chances are you’re more likely to have a happy marriage, as altruism and willingness to sacrifice is higher when your partner is more like you genetically.
Despite many changes in civilizations, customs, traditions, and technologies over the centuries, only one thing stays the same: the rules of attraction. Indeed, we as humans are built to court, woo, attract, be attracted, fall in love, reproduce, and commit to another.
Behind this, beyond the looks and status, lies a more complex set of laws dictated by our evolution, our subconscious, and our genes. The right mix of all these factors determine how attractive we are to others and how we find others attractive.
These 12 rules of attraction show finding the right partner or mate isn’t just a matter of chemistry, or how good you are in bed together. There’s more to attraction than meets the eyes. In fact, the traits that develop and make you more compatible to another person develops even before you were born!