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Why do we get attracted to others?

Updated on November 18, 2015

Attraction is the most natural thing in the world. Being attracted to someone is our way of showing the connection to this world. Attraction is not the same as falling in love, although it could be. It is the first step and the outcome may be very different, depending on the situation, personality and circumstances. Either way, it is a nice place to be, as you don’t need to make a move and can just enjoy it from the safety of your secrecy. Being attracted to someone may have many different forms. It can sometimes turn into love but mostly it doesn’t.

Attraction towards enemy

Some believe you may develop attraction to your enemy. It is a phenomenon that is backed up by the idea that you can’t truly hate someone unless you love them. Love and hate and very similar in their nature – they are both very strong feelings. People tend to act on their feelings and that’s why the situation like that occurs. Basically, you need to have feelings for the person you hate, otherwise you just wouldn’t care. Getting attracted to the person you dislike is the first step of the path towards developing love feelings for them. In fact, falling in love with your enemy may be highly rewarding, as people tend to develop stronger and long lasting relationships with someone who has opposite opinions and views. The process works the other way around too – if you truly love somebody, it’s easy to hate them at some point.

Attraction towards stranger

Getting attracted to a stranger is very natural – people do it all the time. Particularly teenagers tend to get attracted to TV stars and pop singers. Adults may often be attracted to a stranger taking the same bus or train, colleague you have never spoken to or a book character. Naturally, we tend to hide our feelings and pretend there is nothing there. Sometimes it only lasts for a moment while for others it may go on for months and even years. Taking steps to turn the attraction into something more may require a lot of effort and courage and result in unpredictable outcome. That’s why most people don’t do anything about it and just keep wondering.


Common fears

Expressing your attraction towards someone may be difficult because of the fears you might have – what if they don’t see me like that? Most probably they don’t. But guess what -it’s up to you to change that. But don’t rush it, give them time. Dumping too much on one person may be devastating and will ruin everything.

How to let someone know you are attracted to them?

Well, that’s a tricky question. Assuming it is someone you see every day, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Firstly, you can’t be sure they won’t make fun of you. Secondly, they might not feel the same way. And lastly, most important – your own feelings may change once you take it one step further. What if the person turns out to be something completely different? Maybe keeping your dreams of them to yourself is the best option?

If you are ready to take baby steps, start with your connection – make a small talk, create eye contact, find out who the person really is. Do you have anything in common? Do you enjoy each other’s company? Are you interested in continuing as friends? It’s easy to confuse simple attraction with falling in love, as both feelings are very similar. Here is the difference: Love needs more to work with. It’s not enough to simply like the person and like the same movies.


How to cope with the feeling

If being attracted to someone is already distracting you from everyday life, it might be the time to do something about it. There is no point in sitting around, waiting and wondering. It might be the hardest thing you’ll ever do but you need to be honest with yourself. It’s totally normal to fall for someone and letting them know about that is just another step in your relationship. And if they don’t feel the same way, at least you will stop wondering and can focus on someone else.

There is another way too - turning it into a warm friendship. We don’t always have to act on our feelings – sometimes it is unethical (person has a family already). In this case it’s best to develop a deep friendship and just be supportive. In fact, this will probably be even better than having a short term romance. Good friendship can last for years and will benefit you both much better. Well and in the end, if you are meant to be together, it will happen anyway.


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    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 2 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      We are attracted to a lot of different people, for a number of different reasons. Some of those attractions turn into healthy, rewarding relationships. Sometimes they don't end well, but they do serve to teach us about ourselves.

      Thanks for writing.


    • Nixology profile image

      Jonico Dealca 2 years ago from Philippines

      We are attracted to people who provides us are desires like touch and feelings. We seek for their companion as we can see in them what we were deproved of as a child or the pople whho ressembles are most love ones.

    • Emmyboy profile image

      Emmyboy 2 years ago from Nigeria

      I don't think we can easily explain why we are attracted to certain persons simply because I tend to look at attraction as something that happens intuitively.

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      We are attracted to those who share our priorities, our interests, our passions, and that interest develops further when we can share that in discussion and action. These are people who can understand why we are driven in areas that may seem unimportant (or less important) to others. In sharing those ideas, insights and experiences, we often increase our own depth of knowledge because no two perspectives or experience levels will be identical, though they may certainly be compatible.

      I've been happily married for 32 years, and the relationship started as a friendship and developed further. Without that foundation of friendship, I doubt we would have done as well as a couple.

      This is a time when "friendship" seems to have undergone some redefinition. My daughter and son, now adults, have a great many "friends" on FaceBook; I have a few friendships that have withstood the test of time but are rooted in shared experiences and trust. I tend to distinguish between friends, acquaintances, colleagues, coworkers, etc. I value friendship highly. At some point in time, my friends and I shared key priorities, whether military experience, academic or work environment, church projects, or sports & hobby activities. In the course of that shared interest, we've gotten insights into each other's personalities and time either deepened that mutual appreciation or not. Friendship permits us to agree to disagree, so it matters little if we're in the same church, have similar academic or military backgrounds, or vote for the same candidates; our anchor is some other quality or personality trait.

      These issues are not gender-dependent. I have friends who I regard as brothers. As a man, in developing friendships with women, I must take care that my friendship is not misunderstood or misinterpreted by the other person and poses no threat to my marriage. In developing friendships with other men, especially at this point in life (I'm 68), those friendships are often rooted in community projects and sport/hobby involvement.

      When I was single and a warm friendship would develop between myself and someone else, it was simpler and more productive to express appreciation for the friendship itself. Relationships come and go, but friendship is not dependent on physical intimacy. In other words, friendship is its own reward. If the situation develops further, we are fortunate indeed.

      I think we are attracted to others who bring out the best in us as individuals, as human beings, and we do well to seek such people out. The forum for that discovery would be where we work, study, play, compete or function creatively. We do well to communicate in candor, patience and humor, and we will inevitably meet others with whom we share our priorities.