Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Attraction

Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Attraction

Attraction is a mix of biology, psychology, and a dash of the unexplainable. It’s not just about who has the most symmetrical face or rock-hard abs. True chemistry is far more complex and nuanced, and these misconceptions often stand in the way of finding a truly fulfilling connection.

1. Attraction is purely about physical appearance.

Don’t get me wrong; physicality matters to varying degrees, Psychology Today confirms. That being said, overemphasizing looks leads to shallow connections that ultimately fizzles out when the lust inevitably fades. Humor, shared interests, a kind smile, a spark in someone’s eye… these seemingly “little” things create an attraction that outlasts any fleeting fascination with a pretty face.

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2. You either have chemistry, or you don’t – it’s instant magic.

That thunderbolt moment happens sometimes, but attraction often grows over time. The friend you always found mildly interesting suddenly becomes irresistible after a deeper conversation. Don’t dismiss people too quickly – allow space for attraction to blossom unexpectedly. Stop chasing the instant spark, and you might be surprised how far that gets you.

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3. Confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

True confidence is magnetic, but bravado is a turn-off. Loudly proclaiming your accomplishments reeks of insecurity, not genuine self-assurance. Quiet confidence – knowing your worth without needing to broadcast it – is far more appealing.

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4. You need to play hard to get.

Playing mind games gets exhausting fast. While a little mystery is intriguing, being emotionally unavailable is a recipe for a one-sided chase. Reciprocated interest is way hotter than manipulating someone into wanting you by pretending you’re aloof.

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5. “Opposites attract” is the recipe for a successful relationship.

Shared values matter! Differing music tastes are fine; wildly divergent worldviews create conflict and often a lot of drama. While some differences keep things interesting, a baseline of compatibility around life goals, how you treat other people, and your core beliefs is necessary for a long-lasting connection.

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6. There’s “The One” out there for everyone.

This romantic notion puts immense pressure on finding that perfect, soulmate-esque person. The reality is that there could be multiple people with whom you build amazing, loving relationships. Obsessing over “The One” makes you miss out on the very real potential right in front of you.

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7. Once the initial spark fades, the relationship is doomed.

That heady rush of new love is fueled by hormones. It’s designed to fade! This is where deeper bonds form, based on companionship, shared experiences, intimacy built on trust. Don’t mistake the maturing of love into something less shiny for a sign that it’s over.

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8. Jealousy is a sign of how much someone cares.

A little jealousy is natural. Possessiveness and controlling behavior disguised as “passion” are red flags, however. Healthy love is rooted in trust. If they constantly question your whereabouts, it’s about insecurity, not devotion. Jealousy is a toxic emotion that erodes healthy relationships.

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9. Grand gestures are the most romantic way to show someone you care.

Public displays of affection and grand romantic gestures can be sweet sometimes, but everyday acts of support are what truly make someone feel loved. Remembering their coffee order, listening without distractions, offering help without being asked – these demonstrate love far more than a splashy gesture that may be more performative than sincere.

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10. Physical chemistry is the most important type of attraction.

Sizzling sexual attraction is awesome! But if you can’t hold a decent conversation or don’t respect the person outside the bedroom, the relationship fizzles fast. Intellectual chemistry, emotional compatibility – these bonds matter just as much for a fulfilling connection.

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11. If someone is into you, they’ll make it obvious and pursue relentlessly.

Assuming the onus is entirely on them is outdated. Many amazing people are a tad shy or hesitant to make the first move. If you feel a spark, don’t let pride get in the way. Dropping subtle hints, initiating a conversation, or even directly expressing your interest doesn’t make you less desirable.

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12. Your “type” is set in stone.

We’re drawn to familiarity, but sticking rigidly to a checklist closes you off to unexpected connections. The person who challenges your usual “type” might just surprise you. It’s OK to have preferences, but don’t let them become limitations. As Verywell Mind points out, opening up your heart to different people could just yield some rewarding results.

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13. If you really like someone, you should try to change them into your ideal partner.

Couple facing each other with bike©iStock/Squaredpixels

This is how resentment starts. Loving someone means accepting them, flaws and all. Wanting to “fix” or “improve” them is disrespectful, and it never works. You either genuinely like who they are as a person, or it’s time to move on.

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14. You can force attraction to develop where it isn’t present.

Wishing, pleading, or trying to guilt someone into attraction is ineffective and borders on creepy. “He’ll come around,” or “She’s just not ready yet” are recipes for settling for far less than you deserve. Respect their feelings (and your own!) by accepting a lack of chemistry.

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15. Attraction is all about finding the “perfect” person.

Sorry, but perfect people don’t exist. Everyone has baggage. Seek out those with whom you connect on a soul level, who inspire you to be better, who are fun to be around. A relationship built on that foundation will feel far more fulfilling than so-called “perfection” ever could.

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16. Staying fit and following trends will make you universally attractive.

happy couple going for a runiStock/Martinns

True attraction is about so much more. That radiant smile as you geek out over your passion, the way you treat the waiter kindly, your confidence in being authentically YOU… these qualities transcend any fleeting beauty standard. Self-care matters, but don’t neglect the inner glow that truly makes you magnetic.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.