9 simple things that make you more attractive, according to science

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Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? Maybe – we all have different tastes and preferences, after all. 

Be that as it may, science has discovered that there are universal traits that can make us attractive. 

Are you curious what might make you more attractive in the eyes of others? Do you want to understand the subtleties of attraction? 

Here are 9 science-backed things that make you more attractive, according to science. 

1) Smile more

As a woman, one of the things I hate being told is to “smile more”.

I find it reductive and dismissive, as if I’m being forced into the mold that women are expected to be pleasant and agreeable all the time. 

But – I’ve got to be objective here. I just can’t deny that smiling does make us more attractive, and this goes for all genders. 

In fact, according to a study: “A happy facial expression could even compensate for relative unattractiveness.”

I’ve seen this play out in real life over and over as well.

When faced with two choices – one smiling and one unsmiling – I gravitate towards the happier one, even though the unsmiling face might be objectively more attractive

2) Adopt open body language

The same goes for body language. Aspects like great posture, eye contact, and open hands/arms make us more attractive. 

Don’t believe me? Here’s what an interesting experiment using a speed-dating event revealed: 

Expansive postures increase one’s romantic desirability, and that applies to both men and women. 

Apparently, it’s because it portrays dominance and confidence, and that creates a very good first impression.

3) Exercise

Well, this isn’t very good news for the couch potatoes out there. 

But if you want to be more attractive, best to say goodbye to the couch and get your butt moving. 

You see, aside from its obvious physical benefits, exercise also tweaks self-perception. 

What does that mean? 

Well, you begin having a higher sense of self-esteem.

Studies show that “more frequent exercisers, independent of sex, had significantly higher self-perceived mate value than less frequent exercisers.” 

Basically, when you start seeing how capable you are of running X miles or lifting weights or simply following a regular routine, you come to see yourself as disciplined and healthy – a very desirable person.

That’s mate value.

As a former couch potato myself, I know just how different I felt once I started exercising more.

I felt more in control of my mind and body, more confident and dynamic.

And you know what? You’re not the only one who feels that confidence!

Other people do, too, which is why they’d find you attractive, even if you’re just minding your own business. 

This brings me to the next point…

4) Be confident

Two people walk into a room – one with their head held up high and exuding strong energy, the other shuffling and trying to make themself smaller…

Whom would you find more attractive? 

I’m willing to bet it’s the first one. Because confidence is powerful. 

Science explains why – it’s all because when we meet someone for the first time, there’s a lot we don’t know about them. We don’t know if they’re worth getting to know. 

But if they’re confident, we get a sense of competence, drive, social status, kindness…all elements of what makes someone attractive. 

The bottom line is, we see that they believe they’re worth knowing.

And so we tend to trust and get convinced by that. 

All of that to say that yes, confidence is sexy. 

5) Surround yourself with friends

This time, I bring bad news for the introverts and loners. 

Here it is – being in groups makes us more attractive. 

It’s the “cheerleader effect”, a psychological phenomenon where individual faces appear more attractive when presented in a group than when presented alone. 

It’s rather like a visual illusion, like how cheerleaders appear so attractive as a group. 

Doesn’t sound fair, does it? But unfortunately, that’s how the human mind works. 

To add on to that, being surrounded with friends also conveys the idea that you’re pleasant and well-liked.

No wonder a huge chunk of humanity gets so obsessed with being popular

But as shallow as that sounds, this next one should assure you that there’s more to us than appearances…

6) Be kind

Would you believe that kindness can make you literally more physically attractive? 

That’s right – just like we see beauty as good, we also see goodness as beautiful. Isn’t that amazing? 

Results of more recent studies show that a desirable personality makes us more attractive. 

In one study, a subject who was well-liked got higher ratings of physical attractiveness, even if she didn’t do anything to change her look. 

The researchers further leave us with a precious beauty tip: “If you want to enhance your physical attractiveness, become a valuable social partner.”

Being kind is the best way to do that! 

7) Have a great sense of humor

Pair kindness with a great sense of humor, and you’re golden.

Psychologists say that both men and women prefer someone with a good sense of humor when looking for a romantic partner. 

I’d say we do that even when choosing friends.

People who make us laugh and laugh easily at our jokes as well are great companions and just fun to hang out with all around. 

So it’s easy to see how humor can make us so much more attractive beyond looks.

In fact, one of the wisest pieces of advice I’ve heard is this: “Looks fade; humor is forever.”

8) Give people your full attention

Back when I was still single and active in the dating scene, I noticed that I tended to like the guys who would listen really well and respond thoughtfully in conversations. 

They might even be average-looking, and I’d still find them more attractive than the ones who were really hot and well-built but a little, uh, too full of themselves. 

Turns out, that wasn’t weird at all.

It’s just natural for us to like those who pay attention to us.

Listening and responsiveness are highly desirable traits. 

We want someone to make us feel seen and special. In the same way, we can do that for others, too.

And believe me, we’ll be more attractive in their eyes!  

9) Be real and honest

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the best dating (and life in general) advice I’ve gotten – be yourself

People can tell when someone’s being fake. That won’t earn you any points in the attractiveness department and will actually repel people away.

And lest you’re scared because you think you’re too weird/quiet/loud/etc., here’s what you should know – it’s impossible to be liked by everyone.

It’s impossible to be attractive to everyone. 

But when you love yourself, you naturally become more confident, and you won’t feel any need to put up a front.

As Leah Aguirre of Psychology Today puts it, “When you try to pretend that you are someone else, you are essentially at odds with your true self and subconsciously (and also maybe consciously) reinforcing the belief that who you are ‘is not good enough.”

Somewhere out there is a tribe of people who have a lot in common with you, and will find you – with all your quirks – not just “good enough”, but downright attractive.

But the thing is, they won’t find you if you’re hiding.

So be brave and vulnerable – authenticity is always attractive.

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