Little laws of love attraction

Love attraction, how does it work? Since it is almost certain that a winged and chubby boy is not waiting for us with his bow and arrows, Justine’s explanations are welcome!

Hi. This week, the week of the hell of Saint Valentine’s silliness, I suggest that you destroy the ambient romanticism together and talk abouta funny technical thing, finally: the amorous attraction.

Marriage formation is often seen as a negotiated commercial agreement, during which we would seek to obtain the best deal (in this case the most desirable partner possible, according to our own desirability). It is for example from this angle that an M6 seduction coach abusing terracotta explained to a somewhat paunchy fifty-year-old man that good, since he is no longer exactly the handsome ephebe of 20 years ago, He would still have to revise his criteria downwards – in other words, that the ugly went with the ugly and the beautiful with the beautiful. WELL THEN.

In truth, how does it happen, the love attraction? Previously, we had already talked together about the criteria involved in our choice of spouse and the first moments of couples. This time we will focus on the attraction process in himself.

For a romantic relationship to begin, two people (or more, depending on what makes you tick) must first choose each other and want to become “romantic partners”. In other words, the partners must have a desire for a relationship – that is, meet someone and want to get closer to them. This desire does not necessarily come from a personal or conscious choice: what elements can then play in the attraction?

Proximity would increase the likelihood of a relationship

I know it, you know it, Meetic has a little trouble getting around that, but we are statistically more likely to find a partner in the places we frequent regularly: “physical proximity” would increase our chances of romantic relationships.

In fact, if you are in the same place for a while, you will probably meet the same people regularly. Physical proximity will therefore provide a first theoretical catalog of people available for a possible relationship, but it will not be enough: imagine that every day, in the Badaboum company, you come across Truc-Muche at the bend of a corridor. Truc-Muche is enticing like a Dinausorus, but you have no reason to talk to him.

To increase the chances of a relationship, there should also be a “functional proximity” – in other words, you should have reasons to come into regular contact with Truc-Muche (in which case the likelihood that you will start a relationship increases seriously). In an experiment conducted in the 1950s, Festinger, Schachter and Back studied the friendships of residents of a university residence and a housing complex. According to their analysis, the smaller the physical or functional distance, the more individuals will be able to meet and the more likely they will be to become friends : this means that you are more likely to become friends with your direct neighbor (physical distance), and more likely to make friends if you live in an apartment located next to a staircase (physical distance functional).

Of course, social norms also come into our love affairs and will help dictate who is good for us and who is not – according to socio-economic status, according to education, according to age, etc.

Finally, for the attraction to happen, a person would have to be geographically available (that is to say present in our environment), accessible (that is to say that we can come into contact with him) and eligible (i.e. not contraindicated by our standards).

So, if you want to catch a fish that is outside your networks, you may put in place strategies to bring him or her into these networks, in order to be able to establish a proximity with them.

The more we see someone, the more we like them

In any case, this is the postulate of the simple exposure theory created by Zajonc. In an experiment conducted by Moreland and Beach (1992), 4 female students attended a class 0, 5, 10 or 15 times, without interacting with any other student present. The researchers ask other students attending the same course to evaluate the personality of the 4 students. BAM: positive ratings increase with frequency of exposure (the more female students attended the course, the more students perceive them as attractive and similar to them). In the end, a simple exposure (having seen someone without interacting with them) could intervene in the attraction (the same effect is also observed for political candidates during election periods: the one we see or hear more is likely to get the most votes – that’s why we give everyone the same exposure time).

This phenomenon could in particular be due to a familiarity effect: the more we are exposed to someone, the more they are familiar to us… The more we can be attracted. And the mere exposure effect works even if you are unaware of the familiarity (Monahan, Murphy, & Zajonc, 2000).


Keeping a flock helps to know each other, it is proven.

In fact, you will more easily become friends with your classmate, or start a romantic relationship with someone on your street or your job because you see them more often. As you see him more often, you may find him more attractive – not least because you will have more opportunity to discover commonalities. But that only works if the interactions are positive. We agree: if your neighbor bothers you or is an old jerk, you will have negative feelings and there will be no question of attraction and fricotage.

Would the similarity be appealing?

If we think the person looks like us, we would also be more attracted to them (for example, on my side, each time I entered a new class, I looked for the other left-handers and they almost seemed to me systematically more sympathetic). Similarity can be actual (the person really looks like us) or perceived (we only think they look like us). The more our attitudes and values ​​would be in agreement with the attitudes and values ​​of the other, the stronger the attraction could be. In an experiment, Byrne (1961) asked students to give their opinions on 26 themes. A few weeks later, they receive a questionnaire supposedly completed by another student; who has either the same attitudes as them, or opposite attitudes. Bingo: students prefer those with the same values. For Byrne, there is positive reinforcement here: if someone thinks the same as me, it validates what I think and it is rewarding.

While these pull factors are essential, they are not everything. For example, physical appearance would also have a role to play – we are easily influenced by people’s outward appearance (although this does not mean that only this aspect counts), we have caused it here and there. But the question of appearance, according to Buss and Barnes (1986) would influence our choices more for a search for short-term sexual partners than for a long-term partner search. Phew!


Another predictive factor of attraction (and not the simplest…): reciprocity. We would be more attracted to those we think are attracted to us (an interested guy is bound to be interesting, hey). In other words, we love those who love us. The effect could be due to several things: for example, if others like me, I can think that it is because they evaluate me positively, and that is rather rewarding for me. In addition, the fact that others have a good opinion of me can also influence the way I see myself and increase my self-esteem a little. Still, knowing who is really attracted to us is not necessarily an easy thing! You imagine ? It would be too simple: I vibrate for Truc-Muche, then Truc-Muche vibrates for me? I DO NOT THINK SO.

Of course, things are not that simple, and it is not enough to fulfill all the conditions of the checklist of the attraction for the attraction to actually take place. As my friend Maitena’s grandmother would say, ” What to do »?

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Little laws of love attraction

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