Our founder, Lori Zaslow, was asked to review a scientific study and comment on the age-old question about first impressions, attraction, and dating for a HealthDay article. But, of course, we deal with this all the time, in the field, with our clients.
First impressions, as we all know, are imperative since you only get to make ONE.
Rules of Attraction
Attraction is determined by many intricate subconscious details unique to each person (and can even be fleeting based on timing). What attracts someone one day can turn them off the next time around due to relationship experiences.
Everyone’s reasons for attraction are intricate and unique to that person’s temperament, personality, family history, and chemistry, and it is not something someone can predict or measure. So much about attraction and what leads to long-term relationships is intangible.
We all want different things. We often think we know what we want, but our dating habits prove otherwise. What attracts us is only sometimes what is good for us. Decisions about long-term relationships get made for different reasons later on, despite initial attraction.
Must-Know Rules For First Impressions, Attraction, And Dating
Rule 1: No matter what – show up with your best foot forward, ready to be present and attentive. Smell and look good, and do not sit on your phone.
Rule 2: Come to the date as yourself – not as somebody else. You want that person to fall for YOU, not some act you’ll inevitably fail at keeping up.
Rule 3: You may feel down about dating, but always show up with a positive attitude.
Rule 4: Manage your expectations. When looking for the one – be realistic. Nobody has everything you want. Think about the things that you need and cannot live without. Prioritize your deal breakers and clearly understand what you are flexible about. In the end, you never really know until you try. So give people a little chance.
Rule 5: Do what you love, and you will meet the right person amidst doing it. So if you enjoy outdoor activities…join those clubs and groups.
Rule 6: While dating online, understand that pictures and profiles are terrible predictors of attraction. People doctor or filter their photos, so you can only fully gauge your level of interest once you meet in person. You can swipe right on someone you think may be a great match due to one picture, but remember, dating chemistry is not one-dimensional.
Rule 7: Recognize that people are complex, not one-dimensional! Have an open mind. For example, sapiosexuals fall for someone’s intelligence, so (as long as they don’t lose their mind) their partner’s appearance can change, and their attraction to them will sustain. Something unexpected may attract you to someone in a way it never has before.
Rule 8: When someone shows their true colors early on, and you do not like them…Do not settle…people generally do not change…Although in successful, intimate long-term relationships, people need to work on themselves to evolve and learn to accept each other and become more flexible.
Rule 9: Dating online is highly effective, but the old-school way of telling people you know you’re single and ready to mingle works very well, too.
Rule 10: Face-to-face dating can never be replaced. However, attraction in a 5-minute speed dating moment is equally a terrible predictor of a successful long-term relationship.
What Matchmakers Know About First Impressions, Attraction, And Dating
Attraction is initial and instantaneous, often for reasons we don’t understand relating to hormones, timing, scents, or who reminds us of people we’ve previously loved or hated.
Relationships are a game of trial and error, growing and evolving, and WORK from beginning to end. Measuring them doesn’t make them any easier. We want it to be easy and fit into a box, but it isn’t, and it won’t.
That’s why we prefer to pair people based on details we know about them and then put them together for a couple of extended dates where they can gauge attraction and test chemistry, and get to know each other better. Fireworks do not always happen on the first date, and many people start out as friends and later fall deeply in love.
We see it ALL the time; there is the conscious brain that dictates what a person tells us they want in a partner. But, then, the unconscious brain influences what attracts them to someone. Unfortunately, those things often prove to be very different from each other.
We all have basic needs like trust and respect, or wanting attention, etc. Anyone struggling with those should be working on themselves in therapy.
So, show up clean, smelling good, with a positive attitude and an open mind. Otherwise, be yourself (on your best behavior.) The only part of the process that is any actual science is, unfortunately, unmeasurable and highly unpredictable, and we call it chemistry!
Written by Jane Rudes and Lori Zaslow
Jane Rudes is a Communication Consultant as well as the Online Division Director at Project Soulmate. She is happy to speak with interested prospective online clients about their online dating profiles and other common online dating woes.
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