Spoiler alert: most of them are beyond your control.
If you’re single, you’re probably used to hearing advice about how to get a guy to fall in love with you. People are full of wisdom, and always happy to tell you what you’re doing wrong.
If you’re going out all the time and serial-dating like a maniac, you need to slow down and learn to be happy by yourself. But if you’re perfectly happy spending your nights alone with Netflix, pizza, and wine, you need to put yourself out there more and date as many guys as you can. If no one’s told you yet that dating is a ‘numbers game,’ they will soon. All single people hear that one sooner or later.
But the truth is, finding the right guy – and falling in love – is largely a matter of chance. Researchers have pinpointed some of the things that cause us to fall for each other, and for the most part, they’re out of our control. Genetics, luck, and timing seem to be the keys to making a connection; but there are a few things you can do to try and spark his interest. Here’s what science says makes him go crazy for you (cue Madonna).
1. Look like him
It’s a well-known phenomenon: we’re attracted to people who look like us. And we might even be happier in the long-run with someone who looks like they could be our sibling. Creepy, but true.
2. Look like his mother
Psychologist and researcher David Perrett found that people tend to be attracted to partners with the same shade of hair and eyes as their opposite-sex parent. What’s more, people born to so-called ‘old’ parents (over age 30) didn’t prize youth as much as people raised with younger parents – good news for those of us still looking for love in our later years.
3. Look like his last girlfriend
We like what’s familiar – and that goes for falling in love, too. A 2011 study found that both men and women were more attracted to pictures of people who looked similar to their current or most recent love. However, this was more true for women than for men, so don’t worry too much if his ex doesn’t look anything like you.
4. Be just as cute as he is
A 1996 study found that the more attractive a person is, the more likely he is to have high standards for the attractiveness of his partner. As a rule, people want to date someone at least as good looking as they are. So that whole thing about being ‘out of someone’s league’ really may have some validity…
5. Remind him of himself
Turns out opposites don’t attract, after all. People like to be with partners who have a lot in common. Explains Gian Gonzaga, author of an eHarmony study, “Partners who are similar in broad dispositions, like personality, are more likely to feel the same way in their day-to-day lives. This may make it easier for partners to understand each other.”
6. Be aloof
Researchers who conducted a speed-dating experiment in 2014 found that men wanted women more when the women acted distant and uninterested. However, this only applied to women they’d already chosen to talk to – not the ones they were assigned to.
7. Pay attention to him
On the other hand, relationship expert John Gottman says that couples who respond positively to each other’s ‘bids’ for attention stay in love longer; couples who divorced after six or fewer years together only responded to each other 33 per cent of the time, while those who were still happy after six years had an 87 per cent response rate.
8. Look happy
In a 2011 experiment, researchers asked over a thousand people to rate photos of strangers according to attractiveness. Men liked women the most when they looked happy, and the least when they looked proud. Interestingly, women rated men as less attractive when they looked happy, and more attractive when they looked proud. What’s up with that, ladies?
9. Talk with your hands
In yet another speed-dating study, researchers found that when women moved their hands and arms around a lot, men were twice as likely to want to see them again. So go ahead and gesticulate to your heart’s desire…
10. Smell good
Maybe good isn’t exactly the word – you’ve got to smell right. Time and again, scientists have found that people are attracted to each other based on how their sweat smells. It’s a heady mix of pheromones and hormones that tips us off to each other’s DNA makeup and cues us to breed with each other (or not).
11. Stare at him
When University of Massachusetts psychologist Joan Kellerman asked students to stare into each other’s eyes for two minutes straight, they were likely to report feeling passion, affection, and even love for each other – even though they’d never met before.
“This suggests that long periods of eye contact can connect you to someone and even ignite feelings of love inside you for that person you have never previously met,” reports Scientific American.
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Comment: What quality makes you fall for someone?