7 Things That Make You Less Attractive

7 Things That Make You Less Attractive


“Requires constant attention, ignores you, and likes laying around”. Nobody would open their dating profile in this way - but the truth is that some people are just no fun to be around. In today’s fast-paced dating world, it’s important to recognize undesirable traits early. Here are 7 Psychological Things We Do That Make Us Less Attractive.  

Number 1: Acting cool and distant.

While procrastination might feel good, it isn’t attractive. In 1992, two psychologists named Moreland and Beach were curious about the relationship between how many times you see someone and how attractive you find them. They had 4 women pretend to be students in a large intro psych class. At the end of the semester, students in the class were asked to rate how attractive they found each of the women. What the researchers found was that the fewer classes a woman attended, the less attractive they were rated by other students. The other students basically forgot about her! I’ll try and remember this study the next time I have to psych myself up to go to class.

Source: Moreland, R. L., & Beach, S. R. (1992). Exposure effects in the classroom: The development of affinity among students. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 28(3), 255-276.


Number 2: Acting clingy

It’s the classic young love phenomenon: constantly hanging out together. Three social psychologists from the University of California, San Diego conducted a study on the relationship between the people’s physical proximity and how much they like each other. The researchers made a surprising discovery. They asked students to name who they liked and disliked. The researchers found that the students’ most-liked people were those who they frequently met face-to-face. But the researchers also found that the students’ least-favorite people were those with whom they were forced to spend time. In other words, watch out that spending time with your crush doesn’t end up with you getting on their nerves! 

Source: Ebbesen, E. B., Kjos, G. L., & Konecni, V. J. (1976). Spatial ecology: Its effects on the choice of friends and enemies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12(6), 505-518.


Number 3: Acting as if you don’t like your date all that much

When Grandma told you, “It always pays to smile”, were her words backed up by science? Psychologists Curtis and Miller randomly paired participants. One student in the pair was led to believe that their partner either liked or disliked them. Those who thought they were liked were nicer and their partner ended up liking them more! The researchers concluded that so-called reciprocal liking is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if your partner thinks you like them, they’ll be nicer to you, which in turn makes the whole relationship better. And the opposite is also true: if they think that you don’t like them, they’ll be meaner, and the whole relationship will suffer. Turns out that Grandma was on to something.

  1. Curtis, Rebecca & Miller, Kim. (1986). Believing Another Likes or Dislikes You. Behaviors Making the Beliefs Come True. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 51. 284-290. 10.1037/0022-3514.51.2.284.

Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232597507_Believing_Another_Likes_or_Dislikes_You_Behaviors_Making_the_Beliefs_Come_True 

Number 4: Revealing too much, too soon

In 2011, researchers told female undergrads that their Facebook profiles had been viewed by male students and that they would now be viewing the profiles of those guys. You can probably imagine that the women were intrigued. The women were split into groups and were told either that he liked their profile or that the researchers don’t know whether he liked their profile. The women were most attracted to the men who didn’t reveal whether they liked the women. Why? The researchers decided that the more the women pondered the mysterious man, the more he was on their mind, and the more intrigued they became. Austin Powers’ nickname was actually pretty honest: the Magical Man of Mystery does get the dates. 

Whitchurch, E. R., Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2011). “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not . . . ”: Uncertainty Can Increase Romantic Attraction. Psychological Science, 22(2), 172–175. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610393745 

Number 5: Going on boring dates

Two psychologists in Vancouver, Canada did a study on misattribution of arousal, which is when people make mistaken inferences about what is causing them to feel the way they do. They had an attractive female research assistant give male participants a questionnaire. In the first group, she asked them the questions while they were on a scary suspension bridge. In the second group, she asked them while on a low, small bridge. Those on the scary bridge were more excited (because of the bridge) and were more attracted to the research assistant and more likely to call her later. On your next date, don’t just get coffee - that’s boring. Instead, go see fireworks, or ride go-karts! 

Dutton, D. G., & Aron, A. P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(4), 510-517.
Retrived from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/18709788_Some_Evidence_for_Heightened_Sexual_Attraction_under_Conditions_of_High_Anxiety

Number 6: Using cheesy pickup lines

Psychologists who study attraction have identified three general strategies for pick up lines: cute-flippant (for example, “Your place or mine?”), innocuous (such as, “What do you think of the music?”), and direct (as in, “Can I buy you lunch?”). A study asked men and women which pickup lines they prefer to receive. Most strategies work for men being approached by women. However, women tend to prefer innocuous and direct lines over cute-flippant ones. Bottom line: groaners aren’t attractive. So now you know: asking someone, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” is scientifically the lamest possible thing to say.

Kleinke, C.L., Meeker, F.B. & Staneski, R.A. Preference for opening lines: Comparing ratings by men and women. Sex Roles (1986) 15: 585. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288216 

Number 7: Not having a wingman or wing woman

Some people treat dating like a competition. But did you also know that there’s lots of room for cooperation among friends? Having a third-party make the introduction may be the best strategy of all for guys trying to pick up women. Especially in today’s dating world, where there’s more choice than ever, daters have to overcome many hurdles in order to catch someone’s interest. Having someone make the introduction for you automatically moves you past the difficult first stage, and it makes it clear that you’re nice enough to have friends. Sorry James Bond, but in the real world, the best romancers work in pairs. 

Ackerman, J. M., & Kenrick, D. (2009). Cooperative courtship: Helping friends raise and raze relationship barriers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(10), 1285-1300. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167209335640

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