Love never seems to happen the same way twice and it can be incredibly fickle. Some people fall in love easily while others spend a lot of time and effort searching for a feeling they can’t even really explain. One of the worst things about love is that you can’t control who you fall for or whether or not they feel the same way about you. Love spells and potions with guaranteed results will never be a thing, but there are still a few scientifically-backed things you can do to help nudge something towards falling for you. Worth a shot, right?
Listen to them. What makes a good listener? Someone who is genuinely interested in what you have to say and isn’t just waiting for their turn to speak. A 2010 study of 373 couples from the University of Michigan found that those who were able to discuss issues calmly and listen to their partner when having an argument were less likely to separate later on than couples who didn’t do this. At the falling in love stage, listening to each other will make you both feel like your feelings and opinions are important, which is part of building a foundation for a strong relationship.
Be vulnerable. For a Modern Love column from 2015, a writer tried a scientifically-backed experiment that had two people ask each other 36 questions that become increasingly personal. The questions are designed to be uncomfortable at times and create intimacy that would normally take much longer to develop. You don’t have to follow this exact list of questions, but if you want someone to fall in love with you, you have to be open and vulnerable with them. It’s not easy, but it has the potential to be totally worth it.
Make eye contact. The experiment from the same Modern Love column is supposed to culminate in the two people staring into each other’s eyes without saying anything for four minutes to make them feel even more connected. Another study from 1989 asked two strangers to look into each other’s eyes for two minutes which in some cases was enough to produce passionate feelings for each other. According to this study, when you look someone directly in the eyes, their body produces a chemical called phenylethylamine that may make the person feel in love.
Stay positive. It seems pretty basic, but the more you smile when you’re with someone the more they’ll like you. According to one study, smiling makes you look more attractive, more engaging, and more approachable. There’s a reason so many people include a good sense of humor in their list of must-haves: laughter brings people together and it makes getting through the tough times a little bit easier.
Use your body language. There are plenty of nonverbal signs that someone is into you, so it makes sense that paying attention to when you are sending these signals will help communicate your interest too. Showing your interest in a subtle way will let someone know that you would be open to their advances and since no one likes being rejected, they’re a lot more likely to show their interest in you if they’re confident you return their feelings at least a little bit. Mutual interest is the first step towards love.
Wear red. The color you’re wearing won’t exactly make someone fall in love with you immediately, but studies show it might get the ball rolling. One study found that men who talked with women in red ended up asking more intimate questions than they did of women wearing green. While that doesn’t mean you should start overhauling your entire wardrobe, it might be worth wearing something red when you’re headed out on a promising date.
Embrace their passions. A partner is someone you can trust with anything and feel confident they will always support you. When you support someone’s passions — ask questions about them, genuinely take an interest in them, cheer them on — they’re more likely to want you around because you make them feel good about their dreams and themselves.
Don’t be afraid to get touchy. I’m not saying you should go around touching just anyone whenever you feel like it, but if you’re on a date and you’re getting good vibes, reaching out and touching their arm for a minute could make them more attracted to you. Studies have shown that touch can cause a chemical reaction inside us and change how we feel about someone else. In the early stages of a relationship, touch causes a rush of dopamine that makes us feel high, and that’s a feeling we went to have again and again.
Get your adrenaline pumping. Sick of boring coffee dates? You’re in luck because studies have found that experiencing something scary or nerve-wracking with someone can actually jump-start attraction. While you shouldn’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do, trying something new on a date is a good way to bond. How about ax throwing, a haunted house, or rock climbing? If nothing else, it will be memorable!
Play hard to get. No one likes games, but there is still something to be said for maintaining a little bit of mystery–especially in the beginning. You can’t drop everything for someone and give them all your attention and expect them to stay interested. The “law of scarcity” says that people often want what they can’t have. By constantly being available to someone, you could diminish your value. Instead, let them miss you a little.
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