It’s probably not destiny.

According to the research, love and attraction happen thanks to your hormones, your interests, and what your parents look like.

We’ve scoured the studies and collected some of the weird psychological reasons someone might fall in love with you.

This is an updated version of an article originally written by Maggie Zhang.

If you’re really, really alike

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Decades of studies have shown that the cliché that “opposites attract” is totally off.

“Partners who are similar in broad dispositions, like personality, are more likely to feel the same way in their day-to-day lives,” said Gian Gonzaga, lead author of a study of couples who met on eHarmony. “This may make it easier for partners to understand each other.”

If you have a higher — or lower — voice


Your voice signals your interest.

Women’s voices go down when they’re attracted to somebody, and men’s go up.

If you stare into each others’ eyes for two minutes

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University of Massachussets psychologist Joan Kellerman asked 72 unacquainted undergrads to pair off and stare into each others eyes for two minutes.

“They later reported they had increased feelings of passionate love and affection towards the other person,” Scientific American reports. “This suggests that long periods of eye contact can connect you to someone and even ignite feelings of love inside you for that person you have never previously met.”

If you’re tall

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Tall people — especially men — tend to make more money than everybody else.

A 594-person study found that it’s the same case for dating. “Taller men do enjoy a noticeable dating advantage,” concluded author Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University psychologist Wayne E. Hensley.

If you do something thrilling together


In 1974, Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron wanted to test the connection between sexual attraction and anxiety. They put men into two conditions. They either walked across a high, shaky bridge or a low, sturdy bridge. Afterward, they met a female experimenter who asked a series of questions and gave the men her phone number “just in case.”

The men who met the woman after walking on the high bridge were more likely to call her than the men who met her on the low bridge. Psychologists call this phenomenon the “misattribution of arousal.” The high bridge created a sense of arousal from the anxiety, but men mistakenly thought it was from the attraction to the woman.

That’s why doing exciting things — like going for bike rides, riding a roller coaster — makes for many first dates.

If you literally ‘warm’ your date up

Yale psychologist John Bargh performed an experiment in which participants held warm or cold beverages and had to rate whether someone’s personality was warm or cold. Participants who held warm beverages judged the person to have a warm personality, because their minds were already primed to think that way.

If you take someone on a coffee date instead of an ice cream date, they may feel more warmly toward you.

If you live close to them

It’s not only important to be close to someone emotionally — you should also strive to be close physically. According to an experiment at MIT, the proximity of students’ dorm rooms increased how close they felt to one another.

This is because they had more passive interactions, like brief meetings as they passed one another in the hallway, which made them feel more intimate. It’s known as the mere exposure effect, which states that familiarity plays a huge role in attraction.

If you live in a beautiful home

We’ve all heard that women are attracted to men with nice cars. But men also appear more attractive if they are photographed in a luxury apartment. In a Cardiff Metropolitan University study, a man was photographed with a casual posture in a “high status” luxury apartment and a “neutral status” standard apartment context.

The men with the luxury apartments were rated significantly higher for attractiveness when presented to the female subjects. Researchers determined that the illusion of status-linked property ownership had a high impact on attraction, and that context can make all the difference.

If you own a dog

In a University of Michigan experiment, women read vignettes about men. Whenever the story featured a person who owned a dog, women rated them with higher long-term attractiveness. This is because pet ownership signals nurturance and a tendency toward relationship commitment. It also makes you appear more relaxed, approachable, and happy.

If you don’t like them on your first meeting

Derrick Coetzee/Flickr

People are more likely to be attracted to someone who didn’t find them appealing at first but eventually warmed up to them than someone who always liked them. This was revealed in a 1972 study by Jerome Tognoli and Robert Keisner about the gain-loss theory of attraction.

Participants “accidentally” heard the experimenter describe them in either a positive or negative way. It turned out that participants liked the experimenter far more when they gave them an initially negative rating that later became positive. This shows that people find it more rewarding when they need to win someone over.

If they are less or equally good-looking

In a 1996 study, each participant was rated on physical attractiveness and then randomly assigned to date another participant. Then, participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with their dates. The participants who were more attractive were harsher in their judgments — even if they were both equally attractive. The better looking someone was, the less satisfied they were likely to be.

But this only applies to the really attractive people. For the rest of us, according to the matching hypothesis, we are more likely to love those who are equally as attractive as us.

If you have a certain type of facial hair

flickr user Ben Smith

In an Australian experiment, researchers found that women consider faces with heavy stubble more attractive than heavy beards, light stubble, and clean-shaven faces.

Beyond attractiveness, researchers also found that facial hair affects perceived fertility as well. The more facial hair a man had, the more masculine a woman perceived him to be — especially when she was in the fertile phase of her menstrual cycle. It seems that full beards indicate high parenting ability and healthiness.

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