It feels like forever ago since that awkward first day of class, when you were just getting to know everyone. Now, after only two months, you find yourself head-over-heels for one of your classmates. You’re not sure what it is, but every time you see her, a mixtape of silly love songs starts playing in your head in a limitless loop. There’s only so many times that you can hum the chorus of “Accidentally in Love” and tap out the beat to “What I Like About You” before you have to ask yourself what’s going on!
Okay, so obviously you’re experiencing attraction towards your classmate. But what causes attraction to occur between two people? Psychology offers a recipe with three key ingredients: proximity, physical attractiveness, and similarity.
Proximity is just simply being in the same place as someone for large amounts of time. Proximity stimulates attraction through the mere exposure effect. Basically, this fancy phrase means that the more we spend time with people or things, the more we like them. Have you ever been iffy about a shirt but ended up loving it after wearing it a few times? The same thing can happen with people. One reason you’ve begun to develop an attraction towards your classmate is just because you see her in school for six hours every day.
Though a lot of people don’t want to seem “shallow,” it’s a proven fact that physical attractiveness plays a key role in attraction. First impressions are more often than not based on physical appearance, so it doesn’t hurt that you noticed on the first day that your classmate was pretty cute. Physically attractive people are also judged to be more successful and happier through the halo effect: people see one good quality (like appearance) in a person and assume that that person possesses a number of other good qualities as well.
Finally, despite the old adage “opposites attract,” it’s been shown that similarity increases attraction. When people share interests and beliefs, it gives them common ground for conversation. While you don’t want to be with someone who’s a mirror image of you, you don’t want someone who disagrees with you on everything and never wants to partake in your favorite activities with you. It’s no wonder that you found yourself falling for her even harder when she told you that she, too, listens to Paramore and watches Game of Thrones.
So keep singing those silly love songs! For all you know, she might be wondering the same thing and humming the same tunes about you.