Dating advice is everywhere. You get it from your friends, family members, blogs, magazines, and even from yourself. But what about science? Rarely do we hear people talk about using psychology to benefit your love life. That’s about to change right now…
01) Find closed fields
Research has shown that couples are more likely to meet in closed field setting. Prime examples of these are at work, university or any other closed-off institution where you are repeatedly exposed to the same people. (1) Open fields are settings where people can easily come and go, for example bars or even dating apps. This is not to suggest that you should go back to university to find a partner! What you can do is try to find closed-field settings, or in simpler terms try and see the same people regularly outside your workplace. Joining a club or meetup group is perfect – not only can you develop new hobbies, but also meet people who share your interests! Which leads us to…
02) Find a person who likes and is like you
Opposites are out, similarities are in. Balance Theory dictates that when you have things in common with someone, you are in ‘balance’ and consequently will like each other more. Similarly, Social Comparison Theory means that we like people who are similar to us purely because they validate our own beliefs. Essentially, when someone shares your belief, trait or hobby they are agreeing with you, and you feel correct. This in turn makes you feel more positively towards them. Of course, you could use this information for evil, laughing at people’s jokes and agreeing with them just so they like you more, but we know you’d never think of doing such a thing…
03) Get off your ass
You wouldn’t start a job search by sitting at your computer and waiting for a recruiter to call you, right? If you have a goal, be proactive! There is literally no reason you can’t go up to someone and introduce yourself. Women in particular often think that it’s the guy’s job to do the approaching. The thing is, they’re probably just as shy as you are, so why is it their job? (hint: it’s not). Everyone needs to take responsibility for their love life, so just go say hi!
04) Despite what people tell you, you can’t have it all
What you can have, however, is what you need and what is important to you. All the characteristics you thought were absolute musts have their flipside. (2) Funny people might not be able to have serious conversations. Someone who is spontaneous might quickly become unpredictable and unreliable. The confident, dominant type is probably lacking the care and compassion you need in a relationship. Do you know what the two biggest predictors of a successful relationship are? 1) To be best friends; and 2) to like each other as people. (3) So, stop looking for a hottie and start searching for a friend! Kinda takes the pressure off too, right?
This next one is for the ladies…
05) Wear red
It’s simple. Men find women more attractive when they’re wearing red. Even red lipstick drives them wild! (4) And get this… studies have shown that attractiveness is associated with other positive traits, like intelligence, popularity and good social skills. It’s called The Halo Effect. Yes, yes, you’re thinking, “Well, he should like me for me! Dirty jeans, messy ponytail and reading glasses!” Sure, maybe once he knows you. Would you forgive acid wash jeans and bright white 90s trainers on a first date? Didn’t think so.
(1) Clark, C.L., Shaver, P.R., & Abrahams, M.F. (1999). Strategic behaviors in romantic relationship initiation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 709–722.
(2) (Felmlee, D. H. (1998). Fatal attraction. In B. H. Spitzberg & W. R. Cupach (Eds.), The Dark Side of Close Relationships (pp. 3-31). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.)
(3) Lauer, J., & Lauer, R. (1985, June). Marriages made to last. Psychology Today, pp. 22-26
(4) Elliot, A. (2008). Romantic red: Red enhances men’s attraction to women. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95(5), 1150-1164.
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