What makes someone fall in love with you? That’s a question we’d all like to know, isn’t it?
Love is both mysterious and complicated. Try too hard to figure out all its nuances and you risk losing your head. In the end, you’ll probably end up feeling like you’re right back where you started.
Having said that, psychologists have identified some surprising reasons people grow to admire and fall in love with another person.
These don’t provide an ultimate answer to why and how people fall in love. However, they do offer interesting insights into how attraction works.
People fall in love for mysterious reasons.
– Jeff Bridges
Here are six surprising psychological reasons someone might fall in love with you.
1. You’re incredibly similar
Despite the old tired adage of “opposites attract,” it turns out similarities create stronger attraction.
A 2007 study found that similarities in partners help them understand each other which forging stronger connections faster as opposed to swooning over interesting differences.
2. You connect on 3 generational levels
Psychologist Eric Berne, author of Games People Play, says the most successful couples connect on three different “generational” or ego levels:
- Parent: What you’ve been taught
- Child: What you’ve felt (past experiences)
- Adult: What you’ve learned
The more of these tiers you both align on, the more compatible you are, according to Berne’s research.
3. You stare into each other’s eyes for long periods
Surprisingly, a study out of the University of Mass. that had participants work together in pairs and stare into each other’s eyes for several minutes found that extended eye contact may have the power to connect us and develop feelings of love and affection.
Another 2014 study even found that the way we look at our partner may communicate love versus lust — looking at the face communicating feelings of love.
4. You care about the environment
Oddly enough, it turns out that caring about the environment might help that special person see you as a worthy partner.
A 2016 study found that those who make environmentally friendly purchases were seen by both sexes as more desirable for long-term relationships.
5. You turn toward instead of turning away
One of the most surprising reasons someone might fall in love with you has to do with whether you turn towards, or away, from your partner and how often.
Psychologist John Gottman, who has studied intimate relationships for over 40 years, says growing a relationship comes down to what he calls “bids.”
Think of bids as individual moments of presence and shared social interaction. Every time you interact, you each have the opportunity to forge a stronger connection and develop that love.
How do you respond when your partner tries to tell you about a new Netflix show he or she just watched? Do you meet their enthusiasm, ask questions, and respect their energy with your presence or do you turn away from them, write off their remarks, and not give them much attention?
Something like talking about a new show might seem insignificant but it turns out each and every one of these little “touch points” either strengthens the relationship or weakens it from the very moment you lay eyes on one another.
6. You have a dog
Yes, having a dog can earn you bonus points.
Particularly relevant for men, a 2008 study followed a 20-year-old who attempted to obtain the phone numbers of women with and without a dog by his side. He found that having a dog during such social interactions increased the likelihood of obtaining their number when compared to not having one.
This same conclusion was echoed in a 2014 study, which found that women who were shown stories of various men rated those men with dogs as more suitable long-term partners as well as more approachable compared to the men who didn’t.