Home > Uncategorized > Who Knew? We’re Attracted to Ourselves

Who Knew? We’re Attracted to Ourselves

Hey guys! I wrote this post and my next one Sunday and Tuesday, but finally got added to the blog, so I apologize for them coming right after the other. But here goes!

I am not a “scientist” in the traditional sense- however, I do consider myself a political scientist. I believe that political science is just as much science as any other field. For this class, I will get to expand myself into other fields of science, for which I am excited to do.

According to this study, opposites don’t really attract (at least not in the personal, human chemistry sense.)


The similarity-attraction effect has been shown all over the world. This does not come as a huge surprise to me, as it makes sense that we as humans would want to spend time with others who are like ourselves. With more in common to talk about, we feel more comfortable.

I think that us as people would like to think of ourselves as being diverse and and differentiated, and perhaps some of us truly are. But I don’t mind admitting that I enjoy being around people who are like me. Perhaps this is why we have clubs we join with similar interests with other people’s, sports teams we play on, and even the people we are attracted to.

Of course it would definitely pay off, us being more diverse. A wider range of friends, more diverse views and outlooks, and a well-rounded view of life with more experiences. Perhaps we should all take a look at ourselves and try to be more diverse, no matter whether opposites “attract” or not. The important thing is to surround yourself with the people who make you happy and who you enjoy being with. Whether science says this is people like you, or you actually do enjoy people who are opposites, let it be your experience.

Do you guys think opposites really do attract? Or are you more comfortable with people like you?

  1. MTDM
    February 2, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I think, personally, that it all depends on the situation. Obviously, in friendship, you want someone who enjoys the same activities as you, and who you’ll be able to talk to easily. However, in my experience, if you have a friend that is too similar to you, it can get annoying , and almost competitive at times. The differences are what keep the relationship balanced. It is important to have aspects of yourself and your life that are outside of your relationships. I have been with my boyfriend for fifteen months now, and we are almost as opposite as it gets. I’m quiet and reserved, he’s loud and sociable. However, it’s the differences that most attracted me to him. I don’t want to always spend time around someone that’s just like me, because then life gets boring. While frustrating at times, hearing and learning from my friends and boyfriend’s various opinions and stances on different issues, as well as experiencing their different interests, has really opened my eyes and broadened my horizons.

  2. anthonypribadi
    February 4, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    This is a really interesting topic up here. I have had experiences like this in Singapore, too. And I love to observe my surroundings, too, and my observation generally agrees to what the article is saying. Let me share a little bit of what happens in Singapore (from my point of view). Singapore is very much a diverse country. Just to get a sense of it, it has about 5.2 million people, and almost 2 million of them are foreigners (including me)! I got that figures from wikipedia by the way. And in my campus, we have a lot of students from other countries, such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and others. Not to mention we have roughly about 600 students doing study abroad here per semester, but those above-mentioned countries are the majority foreign countries; and although we make friends with everyone, it seems that the inner-most circle of friends almost certainly consists of those from the same country of origin, no matter how long one has been staying in Singapore. It is a very diverse school and country in general, but the article’s claim, “greater human diversity within an environment leads to less personal diversity” sadly seems to be true. That makes sense actually and not necessarily a bad thing, because when someone comes at first to a new country he will need some sort of guidance from other people who have come from the some origin country to give some kind of tips on how to survive there, and other misc stuffs.

    Just recently, me and other exchange students were having an orientation to GWU. And it was apparent that the Asians mixed quite easily with the other Asians and the Caucasians, likewise. This phenomenon (of being attracted to those from same background/interest/origin) happens just everywhere, I guess. And that’s pretty normal, I think. People can choose with whom they want to make friends with. At first, in a new society, of course meeting people from the same background will be very helpful. But after we are all settled, do we close the door to make friends with people from different race/religion/culture? I think that is the more important question and it is up to every one of us to answer it depending on how we want to live our lives in the future. No right or wrong answer. We may choose either option. But I’m just gonna say quickly that making friends with people from different background is fun and enriching. So if you have the chance, go for study abroad! Haha. (advertisement)

  3. February 5, 2012 at 3:27 am

    A very interesting point! I hope you aren’t bothered by my taking the discussion in a little different (biological, rather than sociological) direction. Surely there is something to be said for the safety and security that we feel with those who are like us. Humans, after all, have historically (and prehistorically, to be sure) looked to our clans for their protection and welfare, which appears to cast some doubt on the “opposites attract” phenomenon. But mine is a biological defense of that phenomenon.

    Back home, my friends and I would joke about this all the time: “Why are foreign girls so hot?” we’d ask. And why were we (and just about everyone else, for that matter) so intrigued by those individuals who spoke or behaved in manners with which we were not familiar?

    Jokes aside, I am tempted to assert that, however inarticulate these musings may have been, they shed valuable insight on the questions that you’ve just raised. We concluded that these fascinations with the foreign, the unfamiliar — indeed, the “exotic” — could be explained by one of the biological tenets at the forefront of our collective scientific consciousness:

    [I]f there be, […] a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite diversity in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare […] But, if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterised will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life […] This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. (Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859). Chapter 4.)

    According to Darwin, a species with a diverse gene pool is more likely to survive, due to its ability to respond more flexibly to changes in natural phenomena. I submit to you that this biological explanation is at the core of the “opposites attract” effect, and that we are tempted to interact with those who are different than us by the subconscious and natural desire to ensure the viability of our species and the propagation of our own genes.

  4. February 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I found this article really interesting. I think in my experience, I have always ended up being friends with people who have similar personality traits to me, because I feel like they would easily accept me and we won’t clash on differences. I have always found it easier to go up to someone who I know would generally think through things in the same way as I do then go up to someone who doesn’t necessarily feel the same way about issues. But I don’t think that “opposites attract” is completely incorrect. It is sometimes nice to learn from people who are different people than we are, it gives you an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective and can, in a sense, ‘balance’ you out with traits that you have never had but have liked. I agree that associating with different people, whether it’s the background, personality, views, etc., is important because it doesn’t leave you only prepared to deal with people who are just similar to you. It particularly surprised me when the article said that the people similar to us that we stick to and socialize with “shapes our social world”. It didn’t occur to me that this would be detrimental to my future-I didn’t really consider my association with people like me a problem until I read this article.

  5. February 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I think there are several ways to look at this article. I will be the first to admit that the people I’m friends with, at GW and at home, are very similar to me. We like the same things, are involved in similar clubs and organizations, and this largely contributes to why we enjoy spending time together. However, just because people are similar in once aspect, does not mean they are similar overall. For example, my roommate and I both love Lifetime movies,the color pink, and the rapper Mac Miller. We spend hours online shopping together and gossiping about the Kardashians. But these things set aside, we could not be more different when it comes to our upbrining and customs. She is from Philadelphia and was brought up in a very traditional Indian culture. I live in a small suburb of western Pennsylvania with the majority of my “culture” coming from Lebanese food at Sunday dinners at my grandma’s house. She and her parents have a very formal, respectful relationship, while I often call my parents by their first names. These differences are what have made our friendship so much more interesting and deep, because we have gotten to learn from each other, as well as bond over our common interests. So while the article may say we are more drawn to people similar to us, 99% of the time these “similar” people are going to be very different from us too, and the combination of these factors are what make the relationship more complete.

  6. February 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I think this article can be related to anything in term our human relationships. From the way some countries were formed to sub-culture of hipster and even racism. I agree too that people tends to be with someone with certain common features. But I also think it depends what we consider to be similar or attractive traits. For example, I know a lot people tends to be with someone from their culture or ethnicity. However, that does not always apply to all of us. I believe that there are probably more difference between you and your friends than similarity. What if a kid from Taiwan becomes bets friend with a hipster from Ohio? What if singing a song and music were the reason to be friends with? They might say, “hey we have a very similar tastes in Music.”
    I would actually hate to be with friends who are like me, because I am selfish and annoying.

  7. February 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I think the issue is more complicated than “opposites attract” or “opposites repel”: both are really sweeping generalizations that group/overlook many diverse factors. I think that some attributes attract, others can repel, and some have, should we say, “no charge” ?

    I’ll give a few examples. Do you remember that one loner in middle or high school? That one guy (or girl) who really didn’t hang out with anybody because he was just awkward and weird (and not in the interesting, charming way). His awkwardness didn’t attract ANYBODY, did it? So, I suppose in this case lexicory’s idea is proven right; opposites don’t attract. But wait. There’s more.

    On a more personal note, I was able to maintain a very robust friendship with one girl in high school that differed with me on every level politically. I’m a strong conservative, she’s was a strong liberal. Our constant debates might’ve actually propelled the relationship forward, because it was just enlightening to see another side of things that we could toss around in our heads and maybe even agree with. So, I can take from personal experience that, politically, opposites DID attract (granted, we each respected each other’s opinions, I suppose disrespect/respect and disrespect/respect are two pairs of attributes that don’t mesh).

    So, again, I think the issue is complicated. Opposites attract or repel is too broad a brushstroke to paint with.

  8. February 6, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I think this article can be related to anyone and everyone. I do think opposites attract in some cases. In relationships, I believe the ones in high school and possibly college where you do not necessarily depend on the other person for more than love, the fact that you two are opposites is exciting and fun. But when it comes to relationships with a future with the person you are going to end up with, I believe partners need to be similar in most cases.

    Even from experience, I can say that my friends are not like me at all, but with relationships, I have had both types. The person who wasn’t like me, the relationship didn’t go very well. Being with a person similar makes it simple and easy and I believe that it will last longer. But that is just me. Then again, I do also believe that this whole concept is more complicated. There are many different issues that come with this concept and they need to be explored to more of a level than just relationships with friends and partners. It could also be more of a trial and error kind of process. Either way, I enjoyed reading this article, and I liked reading everybody else’s comments. Thanks for posting it!

  9. February 6, 2012 at 5:27 am

    This may be sort of odd to just come out and say, but I think that it is sort of creepy that we are attracted to ourselves. Tina Fey’s television show on NBC called “30 Rock” comes to mind when I think about humans being attracted to themselves. In the show (it is a comedy), one of the main characters, Jenna, begins dating a man who dresses in drag and imitates Jenna. It is preposterous. However, it is incredibly indicative of Jenna’s true personality: self-obsessed.
    I know that most of us don’t live our lives like Jenna Moroney on 30 Rock though; we aren’t nearly as crazy. But the thought of actually being attracted to someone who looks and acts similar to yourself does seem very strange.

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