Can You Really Make Yourself Be Less Attracted To Someone?

Having a crush on someone off limits is the worst. Maybe you caught feelings for a close friend, your best friend’s boyfriend, or a co-worker and you don’t want to cause drama. Unfortunately, once you’re into someone, it’s hard to see them any other way. So, can you really make yourself be less attracted to someone?

The truth about attraction

  1. You can’t fully suppress the feelings. We can’t control who we get a crush on, so there isn’t exactly an off-switch if you have a crush on someone you have no business making a move on. According to sex expert Jess O’Reilly, “You may be able to reduce how much you focus on or think about the object of your desire, but you cannot fully suppress your body’s natural desires.” So, although you can control your behavior and whether or not you act on your feelings, sadly, you just need to wait out the attraction.
  2. It takes a lot of effort. While you can’t stop yourself from getting the crush in the first place, you can do your best to make sure you don’t prolong the attraction to someone off-limits. Stephanie Cacioppo, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at The University of Chicago, explains that “maintenance of a crush can be stopped with strong willpower from the frontal lobe, meditation, discipline, and practice.” That should give us all a bit of hope.

How to be less attracted to someone if you can’t completely stop

  1. Be disciplined. As Cacioppo said, the important thing is being disciplined. While you shouldn’t be hard on yourself when you get intrusive thoughts and accept the fact that you have feelings, you can acknowledge these thoughts and then focus on something else. This is where practicing meditation can help you get better control over your mind – and it’s good for your wellbeing in general, so it’s a win-win.
  2. Avoid them as much as possible. Out of sight, out of mind. The more you see someone, the more attractive they appear to be. So, while you technically can’t make yourself less attracted to someone, you can try to make sure you don’t fall for them even further. Mute them on social media to prevent yourself from lurking. If you know where they usually hang out, avoid these places as much as possible until the crush has finally passed.
  3. Keep out of their life as much as possible. Muting and avoiding them isn’t enough. If you’re friends with their friends on social media or hang out with those people, then you should take a step back for a while. Having access to people in their life only serves as a reminder of your crush – plus, it eliminates any temptation to ask about them.
  4. Distract yourself. The more you think about your crush, the more you find yourself still attracted to them. So, keep yourself busy, so there’s no room for them to pop up in your mind. Try a new hobby or spend more time with your friends.
  5. Meet new people. The best way to move on is to find someone else. So, put yourself out there. If you click with a new person, your old crush will start to fizzle away.
  6. Remind yourself of why you don’t want them. Maybe you wish you could stop being attracted to them because there are too many red flags, or worse, you don’t want to betray a friend by going after their partner. When they cross your mind or you bump into them somewhere, remember that you want to be less attracted to them for a very good reason.
  7. Remember it will pass. You might be wishing you could make yourself less attracted to your crush with the snap of your finger. The good news is that crushes pass, usually within a few weeks. Eventually, you’ll naturally find yourself less attracted to them. This is even more true when you’re taking other steps to detach from them emotionally and mentally.
  8. Vent. It’s okay to be frustrated by the whole scenario, but if you keep it all to yourself, it’s going to be harder. So, let it all out by talking to your friends or writing about it in your journal. However, if you have a crush on your best friend’s boyfriend, you might not feel comfortable telling her until the feelings have passed.
  9. Counteract intrusive thoughts. We can’t control intrusive thoughts, but we can challenge them. Every time you find yourself thinking about being with them and feeling attracted to them, counter that thought with something negative. So, maybe whenever you think about them, you make yourself do a chore you really hate. Eventually, you might be less into them because you start associating them with things you don’t like.
  10. Try to work out why you like them. It might just be as simple as the fact that your type is tall, dark, and handsome, which is exactly what your best friend’s boyfriend looks like. But, the reason you’re attracted to someone could also be down to something deeper. Maybe there’s a pattern of attraction to people who are off limits, or you like bad boys you think you can “fix.” Becoming aware of a bad pattern of behavior is the first step in stopping it.
Aisling is a 20-something year old Irish writer who is the life and relationship guru of her social circle. She loves music, movies, and coffee.