When researchers asked people to tell the stories of how they fell in love, what were the eleven most common factors?
Variables that influence falling in love:
1. Similarity in attitudes, background, personality traits
2. Geographic proximity
3. Desirable characteristics of personality and appearance
4. Reciprocal affection, the fact that the other likes us
5. Satisfying needs
6. Physical and emotional arousal
7. Social influences, norms, and the approval of people in our circle
8. Specific cues in the beloved's voice, eyes, posture, way of moving
9. Readiness for a romantic relationship
10. Opportunities to be alone together
11. Mystery, in the situation or the person
Some of these factors are worth a deeper look.
Let's check out the specifics of how to make someone fall in love with you:
Being nearby helps a lot. Yeah, unromantic and obvious but if you're looking for love, definitely ask yourself where you're spending your time.
In another study, conducted in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1950s, 431 couples who applied for marriage licenses were interviewed. It turned out that 54 percent of the couples were separated by a distance of 16 blocks or fewer when they first went out together, and 37 percent were separated by a distance of five blocks or fewer. The number of marriages decreased as the distance increased between the couples' places of residence. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Who becomes friends in the dorms at college? People who are similar? No. People who are nearby.
Two factors appeared to exercise the greatest influence on personal relationships: the location of the apartments and the distances between them. The most important factor in determining who would be emotionally close to whom was the distance between their apartments. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
What underlies this? Obviously, you have to meet, but there's something else going on: repeated exposure.
As marketers know very well (and anyone looking for love should learn about marketing), repeated exposure makes us like almost anything.
Repeated exposure, it turns out, increases our liking for practically everything, from the routine features of our lives to decorating materials, exotic foods, music, or people. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
"What about that annoying person at work, huh? I see them all the time and I don't fall in love with them."
True. Repeated exposure amplifies whatever is already there.
…repeated exposure intensifies the dominant emotion in the relationship. When the dominant emotion is anger, repeated exposure enhances the anger. When the dominant emotion is attraction, repeated exposure enhances the attraction. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Love at first sight only happens in 11 percent of cases and it's more common in men than women. By the same token, this means first impressions are huge because repeated exposure has a snowball effect.
Looking for love? Then think about where you're spending your time. What places do you go on a regular basis and do they contain the kind of people you want to date?
Sounds obvious but if you're spending 99 percent of your waking hours at work and at home, you're not allowed to be surprised you're single.
People like people who are nice and smart and funny and make them feel good and zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Yeah, of course.
Let's talk about the other side of character. What are you like inside?
Having a strong sense of who you are and a lot of self-confidence is a good predictor of whether you're going to fall in love with anyone.
People who have a high frequency of love experiences tend to have high self-confidence and low defensiveness… Insecure people who do not have a coherent sense of self and who are not self-actualized tend toward a game-playng style of love and have relationships with low levels of intimacy and high levels of conflict… A study that compared the levels of people's self-identity to the levels of intimacy in their relationships showed that Erikson was right. The stronger people's sense of self, the higher their ability to be intimate. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Get your inside straight and the outside might take better care of itself.
Opposites attract… um, not all that much.
People are likely to choose as lovers and marriage partners those with similar characteristics. Furthermore, the more similar couples are in personality and background, the more comfortable they are with each other, the more compatible they feel, and the greater their satisfaction from the relationship. Consequently, couples who are similar in attitudes, temperament, and behavior are more likely to stay together over time. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Any type of situation that affects us emotionally increases the chance of falling in love.
In one-fifth of the romantic attraction interviews, the relationships described started during stormy periods in the lives of the men and women interviewed. Sometimes, the heightened emotional sensitivity followed an experience of loss, such as the death of a parent or a painful breakup. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
This is why people fall in love on the rebound. This is why we see Stockholm Syndrome. This is one of the reasons musicians are more attractive.
We can't really tell what is causing our feelings and we have to guess. It's called misattribution of emotions. So any emotionally arousing situation has the potential to fool us into thinking we're in love.
When we are aroused, the origin of the arousal does not matter, and it does not matter whether we are aware of the reason. Arousal automatically reinforces our natural response, including attraction to a potential partner. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Even an action movie can do it.
Some of the couples watched an action movie; others watched a movie that was less arousing. It turns out that the couples who watched the arousing action movie expressed more affection toward each other after the movie than they did before seeing it. The nonaction movie had no effect on the amount of affection expressed by the couples who watched it. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
But, again, you can't think making someone fall in love with you is as easy as taking them to an action movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not cupid.
Like repeated exposure, arousal is merely an intensifier.
When the woman looked attractive, the arousal caused an increase in the men's attraction to her. But, when she looked unattractive, the arousal actually caused a decrease in their attraction to her. It is noteworthy that the woman was the same in both cases, and that the difference in the men's response to her was caused by makeup. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
How to make someone fall in love with you? Being attractive helps, no doubt. Make yourself look good. What's news about that?
Guys, you may not be putting in enough effort.
The stereotype that men are more focused on beauty than women proves out – but not nearly as much as you might think.
Tell women they're connected to a lie detector and they are far more likely to say physical attractiveness is important.
When the women thought they were connected to a lie detector, they admitted being more influenced by the physical attractiveness of the men and described physically attractive men as more desirable. When they were not connected to the apparatus, women tended to underreport the impact of the men's physical attractiveness on their preferences. Apparently, a social norm tends to inhibit, especially women, from admitting the importance of physical attraction. [Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose]
Got a better idea of how to make someone fall in love with you now?
Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.
More from Barking Up The Wrong Tree...
- Is there a shortcut to bonding with a romantic partner on a deeper level?
- What are the four things that kill relationships?
- How to be James Bond: Science explains why he's irresistible to women