Master SBDC eLearning Center

Choose Attraction

by Rune Adal

Regular reader and fellow blogger Bellita has written her penultimate post, and it’s one that I found very gratifying to read. A year ago, Bellita read this in a post by Private Man:

The biggest challenge is for women to re-adjust their approach to men. Women usually look for reasons to reject a man. They find the bad things first. This results in a lot of frustrated single women. To start the readjustment, I have this very simple mental exercise:

Every time you see and/or interact with a man, look for something good about him. This includes online dating profiles.

It can be something small.

It can be something big.

It has to be something.

I recall that post myself – I liked it very much because I believe that attraction triggers are malleable (more on that in a minute). What is required, though, is a conscious effort to be positive and mindful when meeting others. (This can make a huge difference in any meeting, but for obvious reasons is especially relevant to meeting members of the opposite sex.)

Here is what Bellita had to say about using this approach for an entire year:

What I expected was that it would teach me to settle. I thought that focusing on virtue, character and other non-sexy but admirable traits would help me to rationalize happiness with a partner I wasn’t all that attracted to.

What I did not expect was that it would increase the number of men I feltgenuinely attracted to.

I’m seriously amazed at how many more handsome men there are in my city than there were one year ago. But of course, it was not the city that changed; it was I.


Wow, what a Field Report! I find this very profound, but not entirely surprising. Dan Ariely found that although standards of beauty are universal, people are generally very realistic about who they can attract. At speed dating events, Ariely found that very attractive people listed looks as a high priority. Less attractive people were much more likely to express their desire for humor, kindness or intelligence in a mate.

Regardless of our value judgments about the real importance of beauty, it is clear that the process of reprioritization helps us adapt. In the end, we all have to make peace with who we are and what we have to offer, and ultimately, adapting and adjusting well are key to being happier.

…By any stretch of assortative mating imaginable, [my wife] should have had nothing to do with me…I came to believe that, as unsentimental as it sounds, Stephen Still’s song has a lot of truth to it. Far from advocating infidelity, “Love the One You’re With” suggests that we have the ability to discover and love the characteristics of our partner. Instead of merely settling for someone…we end up changing our perspectives, and in the process increasing our love of the person. 

Many studies have confirmed the theory that familiarity creates attraction. The more people interact, the more attracted they become to one another. In studies, people rate familiar faces as more attractive than distinctive faces, and their ratings go up the more they are exposed to the same face.

Common sense tells us this – people pair off in middle schools, high schools, and small towns. If anything, people who move to larger settings become paralyzed by the paradox of choice.

In short, attraction is a choice, at least partially. 

Today JustYX gave fellow reader Sai some advice after she acknowledged that her feelings of frustration with men are probably coming across to potential boyfriends:

Susan’s list and her general thrust on this site are worth taking for an extended test drive. Make an effort for a few months, skirt, smile and positive outlook. It could well work, but at the very least you’ll be left in a better, happier place.

This is the bottom line. By adopting a positive approach, and actively seeking good qualities in others, you have nothing to lose but your feelings of scarcity.

In a recent thread, reader HanSolo shared the five most common regrets of the dying. The last one was “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Many people don’t realize that happiness is a choice. HanSolo had wise words: 

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

You are literally surrounded by people who might make a great relationship partner. Look for the good qualities in people. Get familiar with people.

Choose attraction.