If you’re lucky, you’ve experienced the impossible-to-ignore romantic chemistry that sometimes appears with another person. Frustratingly, this kind of exciting energy doesn’t seem to make any sense. And worse, we don’t seem to have any control over it! The sparks can dominate with one person but don’t even exist with another. Wondering why that is? Here are nine explanations for the inconsistency of chemistry and why we only feel it sometimes.
- Physical attraction. Annoyingly, physical attraction isn’t something we can control. It’s one of those things that develops on its own. The majority of the time, that instantly happens when you meet someone. But it can also happen after some time together. This kind of chemistry makes you feel drawn to them, even when your conscious brain doesn’t understand why. Someone might not be your type at all on paper, but when you look at them, you feel yourself falling. That physical attraction is an important part of what brings two people together, but it’s not the only thing that matters!
- Easy communication. Talking to some people is just easier than talking to others. One of the contributing factors to the feeling of “sparks” is known as reciprocal candor. Put simply, this is when it’s super easy to chat with someone and you feel like they actually understand what you’re saying. Having that reciprocal candor, or easy communication, definitely adds to the feeling of falling for someone instantly.
- A false perception. Sometimes, the instant attraction or sparks you feel for someone can come down to a false perception. That is, you think they’re something they’re not. For whatever reason, they might feel like they tick all of your boxes, which might make you get the good kind of butterflies. They might seem like they’ve got a great job, a great family, a great house, and everything you’ve always wanted in a partner. That image of them makes you develop a strong interest in them that can be quite hard to reign in.
- Familiarity. Research has shown that we are attracted to the familiar. We naturally feel safe with people that come with a sense of familiarity. This can be a major factor that leads to sparks. If someone comes from a similar background as you, works in your industry, or even shares mutual friends, you might feel more drawn to them than you would someone from a totally different walk of life.
- Reputation. If someone has an appealing reputation, you might find that sparks start flying with them, even when they’re not actually your type. You might look at them and not actually find them that attractive, but because you’ve heard all about them, that first interaction is exciting. You can see everyone else wants them, so you don’t want to miss out. It might be someone your friends know, someone you’ve heard of at work, or even a celebrity. Their reputation can make you feel 10 times more drawn to them.
- Mutual interests. Having mutual interests with someone can definitely cause sparks to fly. This sometimes plays into the reciprocal candor part of chemistry. It’s easy to talk to them, they care about what you’re saying, and you feel like you could chat for hours. Someone with mutual interests can also empathize with you more than someone who doesn’t like any of the same things that you like. This is especially true if you tend to like things beyond the mainstream and you feel it’s hard to find people who relate.
- Similar values and goals. Similarly, it’s common to feel attracted to people who have similar values and goals to you. There’s that sense of familiarity which makes them feel safe, but also the ease of communication. Though it’s possible, you’re less likely to feel strong sparks with someone who has a completely different view of the world from you. Sharing values, or placing importance on the same things, is an undeniable part of the chemistry formula. In the same way, having similar goals can attract you to a person like a magnet.
- Demeanor. You might find that you’re more likely to feel romantic sparks with someone who has a friendly and sunny demeanor. Sometimes referred to as “personableness”, this is when someone is kind, friendly, laughing, and just generally has a pleasant demeanor. It’s easier to socialize in general with people who are personable. So naturally, you’re more likely to feel the sparks of love (or lust!) with them too.
- Soulmates. The notion of soulmates might not be backed by science, but it goes without saying. If you believe in two people who are naturally deeply connected on many levels, and meant to be with one another, then this is another reason for sparks. Some believe that there’s no logical formula that leads to soulmates—sometimes two people are just compelled towards each other and fit together like missing pieces of a puzzle. They might not tick each other’s boxes or be personable or even have similarities. But there’s something, whether it’s due to destiny or luck or plain old biology, that causes huge sparks.