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Attraction Theory: What It Is & 4 Factors that Make You Desirable to Others

What is the attraction theory? Can you use it to predict whether someone will find you attractive? That would be handy, for sure!

attraction theory

Being attracted to another person is a strange thing. There are so many different reasons why you might be attracted to someone. Indeed, there are just as many reasons why you might not be. Have you ever found yourself drawn to a person who, on the surface, isn’t the type you would normally go for? This could be due to the attraction theory.

For instance, do you always end up dating guys or girls who are ridiculously similar to one another? Or, do you end up dating a whole range of people and can’t figure out what it is they all have in common to make them attractive to you?

The truth is, there are so many different reasons why you might find another person attractive. Most people will end up getting involved with a whole variety of different people both in terms of looks and personality. It’s possible, but quite rare for someone to have a precise, clearly-defined ‘type.’ [Read: Different types of attraction – Which is most vital for true love?]

What is the attraction theory?

The attraction theory suggests that there are certain factors we consider important when looking for a mate. An individual with all these qualities is someone we are far more likely to be attracted to than someone who doesn’t have them.

Even when it comes to friendships, attraction theory still holds true. Think about your own friends – you are probably of similar attractiveness and intelligence. You probably have similar interests and enjoy doing the same things. [Read: The main rules of attraction as explained by science]

We are often naturally drawn to people who are like us. In terms of friendships, this may be for selfish reasons.

We don’t want to surround ourselves with those who are obviously more attractive and accomplished than ourselves for fear of standing out as the “unattractive” or “unsuccessful” one.

The attraction theory was created by Samuel Frenning, a psychologist. He decided that there must be some set of invisible rules as to why people are attracted to one particular person and not another.

As such, he set to work to prove his ideas, and the attraction theory was born. [Read: Body language attraction – The clearly noticeable signs and how it works]

Four factors of the attraction theory

So, what are the things that influence us to decide whether or not we will find someone desirable? There are actually four scientifically-proven factors!

These are:

1. Physical attractiveness

2. Proximity

3. Similarity

4. Reciprocity

Let’s take a look at each of them in greater detail. [Read: 23 intense signs of unspoken mutual attraction between two people]

1. Physical attractiveness

Physical attractiveness is the most obvious factor that determines whether we are attracted to someone or not. When asked, this is always one of the top answers that people give when considering whether they would find another individual attractive.

However, physical attractiveness is determined by a number of factors, and these can vary from person to person. That is why not everyone finds the same people attractive. That’s a good thing though, isn’t it? If we all found the same people attractive, the world would be a pretty chaotic place!

Whether consciously or not, assessing someone’s physical appearance is one of the first things we do when meeting them, and not just for the first time.

We continuously judge and assess one another’s physical attractiveness each and every time we are faced with a new person. [Read: 15 tips to be nice and loved by all instantly]

While we are all naturally attracted to those perfectly beautiful people who are undeniably good-looking, we are also likely to find people on a similar level of attractiveness to ourselves more desirable. Interestingly, we often do the same thing with friendships!

Many studies have been done to try to group together what aspects we find physically attractive in one another. Often, signs of health are an indication of attractiveness. That means clear skin, lean strong bodies, good teeth, bright eyes, shiny hair, etc.

These attributes appeal to our subconscious desire for a strong and healthy mate. However, there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ answer here. Different people find different people physically attractive. So, it really comes down to personal taste!  [Read: 20 hot secrets and physical attraction tips to look way hotter]

2. Proximity

Proximity is certainly not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about how to determine attraction to someone. But according to the rules of attraction theory, proximity actually plays a rather significant part.

Proximity is to do with the regularity with which we see someone. The more we see someone, the more likely we are to be attracted to them! This is probably why so many relationships start with people being friends with one another.

The more time we spend in another person’s company, the more we get to know and trust them. The more we find out about them, the more we like them. [Read: 20 signs of attraction in the first conversation]

“Now hang on a minute,” you might be saying. “What if I don’t like them, and the more I find out about them, the more I think that particular person is an idiot?”

In this case, the attraction theory still stands. If you discover things you don’t like about a person, you are far less likely to keep spending time with them. So, you see them less and less, and they become less attractive. Proximity works both ways, you see.

However, if you find a person you do like, you’ll spend more time with them. Your likelihood of being attracted to them will increase. Proximity, of course, works on a very obvious level too.

You might well see someone in a gas station and think they are cute, but if you never see them again then you aren’t likely to develop a long-lasting attraction to them! The cute guy or girl that works every day in your local shop, however… well, they are a different story! [Read: 13 lusty signs of sexual attraction to keep an eye on]

3. Similarity

Similarity is very important when it comes to finding people attractive. There are many different ways that you can be similar to a person. First, there can be similarity in terms of physical attractiveness, but there are also aspects of similarity in terms of attitude.

These similarities could be anything from politics and how we view the world, to what we think of having pets and children, or our religious beliefs!

Someone who we have lots in common with in terms of our hobbies and interests is also someone we’re more likely to find attractive. They reinforce our own beliefs and will be someone whose opinion we respect. [Read: The law of attraction and how it can completely change your love life]

Differences are to be celebrated, of course. Although if you love spending your weekends going for country walks with your dog, but the other person thinks the countryside is boring, is allergic to dogs, and refuses to even walk down the street, it’s going to be tough to find things that you like to do together!

If you lack similarity, your experiences and view of the world will also be completely different. This could lead to arguments and feelings of frustration towards one another. [Read: Relationship arguments – 23 dos and don’ts to remember]

4. Reciprocity

We are more likely to find people attractive who are attracted to us! If someone likes us, then they are likely to treat us kindly, be nice to us, to say nice things about us. They’ll also want to spend time with us, have fun with us, make an effort to please and impress us, and so on.

Feeling admired and being the center of someone’s attention is deeply flattering. And, because we want more of it, we are likely to encourage this sort of behavior. Therefore, we reciprocate with attraction. That’s reciprocity!

Naturally, this only really works if factors such as physical attractiveness and similarity have already been considered and approved.

If an individual you do not find physically attractive – and you have nothing in common with – starts coming on too strong, then it is more likely to have the opposite effect and send you running for the hills! [Read: Interpersonal attraction – Why we like some people and hate others]

Do you believe the attraction theory?

So, what do you think? Do you believe the attraction theory is accurate? Or, do you think it’s nothing more than vague suppositions? You have to admit, it does make some very convincing points!

Think. How many times in the past have you started to like someone because they showed you attention? You’re experiencing reciprocity. They like you, so they’re treating you well. Then, you start to see the pluses in potentially dating them.

On the other hand, it’s also true that sometimes if you see someone who is extremely attractive to look at *like, crazy attractive*, you might find them too intimidating to be around.

Still, as the attraction theory also states, someone who is physically attractive on your kind of level won’t be anywhere near as terrifying – they might even appeal to you.

The attraction theory has answers for almost everything. It sounds crazy but it’s true! [Read: What does sexual attraction feel like? How to know exactly]

Monitor your future dating habits

If you want to prove or disprove the attraction theory, why not pay attention to your dating habits from now on? You could even reminisce about your past habits and see if they fit the theory or not.

It’s an interesting thing to learn and think about, for sure. You might even use it to predict who you may be interested in in the future. Or even who may be interested in you!

We don’t have a dating crystal ball, but perhaps the attraction theory could shed some light on the situation…

[Read: The biggest lusty signs of sexual attraction to keep an eye on]

So, there you have it. Next time you are wondering just what it is about that person you find attractive, why not look at the attraction theory above and see if any – or all – of its points apply!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...