The Intimate Relationship: Attraction

Attraction comes from different part of our relationship. We almost always find good looking people attractive. We find the friends we hang out the most are increasingly more attractive. If people we like turned out also like us, we find them even more attractive. And we like those who we wish to become. So what makes us like someone else?

  • Proximity: Liking Those Near Us

We select our friends, and our enemies, from those around us. Why proximity matters so much for us? Because physically interaction is more rewarding for us than anything else, we like to hear people’s voice, see their smile and set next to them to chat with them face to face. And even in the modern world, traveling long distance is a challenge, so we end up be friends with people close by. The proximity makes the repeated contact possible and the familiarity breeds attraction.

  • Physical Attractiveness: Liking Those Who Are Lovely

When we meet people for the first time, their looks matters more than any other factor. We are not only attracted by the good looking people, but also assume they carry with other good characteristics.

  • Reciprocity: Liking Those Who Like Us

People are reluctant to risk rejection. Most people calculate others’ overall desirability by multiplying their physical attractiveness by their probability of reciprocal liking.

There is a decision making process when we decide whether we would like someone, we would calculate their mate value, then evaluate the mate value difference between them and us, and we decide how likely they would accept us or reject us.

This leads to many interesting situations in the real world: the physical attractiveness of the two people in a relationship usually close to either other.

  • Similarity: Liking Those Who Are Like Us

People like those who share their attitudes. But what kind of similarity matters? Happy relationship partners resemble each other in demographic origin, attitudes, and, to a lesser degree, in personalities.

  • Barriers: Liking the Ones We Cannot Have

Another important factor is the barrier: we start to like people more if we noticed that there are risk lose them without any action taken.

Overall, people evaluate potential partners with regard to (a) warmth and loyalty, (b) attractiveness and vitality, and (c) status and resources. For lasting romances, women want men who are warm and kind and who are not poor, and men want women who are warm and kind and who are not unattractive. Thus, everybody wants intimate partners who are amiable, agreeable, and loving.

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