These 2 First Impressions Surprisingly Matter The Most In Romantic Relationships
When it comes to love, first impressions matter. How much they matter and whether they change is the question we’re trying to answer. Even more important is what matters in a first impression. Is it subjective, or is it universal?
We all wonder how we come off every time we go on a date, all while analyzing every move of the person we’re on a date with. It’s like we’re trying to find something wrong with them and maybe they’re doing the same to us. So how do we win each other over?
Luckily for all of us single people, a study was determined to find the answer. They narrowed down two specific factors that made all the difference in first impressions of romance.
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What Fuels The Flames Of Love?
Love. Even the word itself carries a lot of weight as soon as you hear it. Our mind races with the idea of love because it’s the one thing no one fully understands, but everyone wants in some capacity. Because no one can truly control it, everyone is afraid of it, some more than others.
We want to try and understand as much of it as possible in hopes of achieving an ideal version of it. That all starts with a first impression. But what exactly fuels the flames of romance the very first time?
The Process Of Figuring It Out
To conduct this study, the research team looked at three factors that commonly impact how romantic first impressions form: selectivity, popularity, and compatibility. Think of dating apps, for example. They all use all three, showing you popular matches in your area, suggesting people that are compatible with you based on your interests, and allowing you to choose among them.
For this process, the study author explains the process of figuring out which factor was dominant as such: “If Daniel liked Rose because he tended to like everyone, this would be selectivity,If Daniel liked Rose because everyone liked her, this would be popularity, and if Daniel uniquely liked Rose above and beyond his own flirty disposition and her general popularity, this would be compatibility.”
A Study On A Mission
For the study, researchers analyzed romantic first impressions among more than 550 speed-daters, not all heterosexual, and had participants rate their romantic interest in potential partners. There were more than 6,600 speed dates in total during the experiment.
What they quickly realized was that compatibility and popularity were two of the key factors that determined who people were inclined to pursue as potential partners.
“Although we expected that compatibility would be an important factor, we were amazed to find that compatibility was just as strong of a predictor of romantic pursuit as popularity was,” said study author Alexander Baxter, a PhD candidate in the psychology department at the University of California, Davis.
Let’s explore what this entails.
A Popularity Contest
After the speed-dating rounds, the researchers asked the participants over the following one to three months if they dated anyone they met and how their feelings changed for them over time. They wanted to get more stats about whether the initial first impression predicted what happened after.
They realized that people were particularly likely to pursue a romantic relationship with suitors who were popular and who they were most compatible with. There is something desirable about someone who is perceived positively by others hence the popularity factor and there is something gravitating about being able to bond with someone we connect with hence the compatibility; but is one more powerful than the other?
What Matters Most
While being popular played into who made a good first impression on the dates, it didn’t determine the success of romantic relationships: “Our findings suggest that although it helps to be popular when it comes to getting a second date, having a unique connection with a potential partner can be just as important,” Baxter said.
This means that compatibility matters more than popularity: “we were amazed to find that a good first impression is not just a popularity contest, it’s also about compatibility, even when people are still getting to know each other,” added Baxter, In other words, although it helps to be popular when it comes to getting a second date, having a unique connection with a potential partner can be just as important.”
So yes, being popular will get you dates, but not necessarily a relationship. Compatibility, on the other hand can do both.
Do First Impressions Matter?
Now, this all makes us wonder if first impressions even matter at all or if everyone should be given a second chance even when the first meeting doesn’t go well. The answer likely falls somewhere in between. While we’re likely able to determine a certain level of compatibility on a first impression, first impressions also shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all determinant.
“A person may not be immediately appealing, but relationships can grow depending on compatibility effects, such as a sense of humor or how well he or she gets you,” explains Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology. She adds: “These things won’t obliterate first impressions, but they can change them”
Basically, sometimes you have to dig deeper and not be selective in a judgy way. People can be nervous, out of character, or rushed on first dates. Sometimes you just have to get to know each other better.
Attraction Doesn’t Determine A Relationship
Remember that things are never black and white. Someone can make a great first impression and it can go downhill from there.
“Fireworks do not always happen on the first date, and many people start out as friends and fall deeply in love,” notes Lori Zaslow, co-founder of a matchmaking service. You never know how your perception will change the more time you spend with someone. Not only does what you’re attracted to change but attraction can grow and fade based on chemistry, history, and your current environment.
So what does that conclude? Much of what determine relationships is intangible. We still don’t and can’t predict, control, or fully understand love. Our reasons for love are based on a mix of hormones, pheromones, timing, experiences, history, baggage, mood, you name it…
All we know now is that compatibility and popularity are two of the key factors.
On The Hunt For The One
So what do you do with this information? You just continue to be yourself and do what you love and trust that that’s the only way to attract the right person.
In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it’s much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on your date of birth.
For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.
Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.
Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]