Friday, 2 November 2012

The Three Laws of a Crush

I was talking to a friend recently about girls. Actually it would be more accurate to say I was counselling him. He wanted to know why he liked particular girls and not others and why crushes happen.

Remembering a psychology lesson I had years ago, I recalled information about what I call "The Three Laws of a Crush". Reciprocity, Proximity, and Similarity.

Basically, these three things are what make us attracted to people, either platonically, or romantically.

The three laws don't necessarily have to all be present for a crush to occur, but when they are all present, a love interest is likely to be born.

Let's go through them.


Reciprocity is when someone responds positively towards another person because of something positive that they have done. In other words, people like nice people. If you're nice, and do nice things, people are much more likely to be nice to you, and become attracted to you. On the flipside, people will be hostile, even violent, towards those who are nasty or mean.

It's kind of like psychological attractiveness. I don't believe that physical attractiveness is at all important in love, but how nice you are, your personality and your sense of humour, that is all stuff that people find attractive. Simply looking at the skin will not lead to love.


Proximity means to be close. When you are around someone a lot, and spend a lot of time with them, you get to know them better, and become closer to them. There are limits of course, but as a general rule of thumb, the more time you spend with someone the more they will get to know you. Of course, how attractive you are depends primarily on Reciprocity. So you've got to be a nice person before you start hanging around someone you like all the time. Because if you're a bad person, and you're around someone a lot; it won't take them long to realise that you're not very nice.

It also works psychologically, not just physically. When you think about someone a lot, or when you talk to them over the phone or on the internet, it can have the same effect. You don't just have to be standing next to them.

And when I say standing next to them, I don't mean that literally. Proximity can be as little as being in the same class as someone, being in the same room as them, being on the same train or bus as them. You don't even have to talk to them, though, that is advised.


Similarity seemed trivial to me at first, but how much two people share is actually quite powerful. It's not stuff like "Do you like peas?" "I love peas!" "Wow me too!" No. Liking the same food is trivial. But sharing moral beliefs, family values, religious beliefs, and such, is very powerful. Sharing interests is also important. Theoretically, a professional mountain climber who goes hiking every day is not going to be interested in a girl who wears heels every time she goes outdoors and has never left the city.

It's the big things like that that make up who you are. Think about the things that really define you, that's what you should share with someone special. It gives you something to do together, something to talk about later, and it makes you more attractive to them, if that is what makes up who they are as a person.

That's it. Just three things to keep in mind. But this is not a tool to go and pretend to be someone you're not so that someone specific will like you. If this encourages you to be a nicer person because you've never had a date, fantastic. But if it makes you nice when a girl is around but still a bad person when she leaves, you're even worse than before, and you're a fraud.

This is more or less a tool for determining what's going on in your head when you want to know why you like someone. Or if you want to know if they'll like you back. The important thing though is to be honest. Don't take up ice skating suddenly because a girl you like does ice skating, and you want to impress her. But ask her if she wants to go ice skating with you, and ask her to help you learn.

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