I can’t help being a romantic. I just can’t. I’ve been through a torrid marriage. I’ve had 2 online relationships; one was “bleh” the other was “OMG!!!!” Neither worked. So I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and dissect and take stock of myself and what I deem important in a relationship. Since Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away, I thought you, my loyal reader, would be interested in having this conversation with me. Why are we attracted to certain people?
From Pyschology Today (my go to magazine/website for all things Psych)
The Charm Offensive
When two hearts beat as one.
Charisma is charm in neon lights, a social gift we can’t help but respond to when we see it. A person with charisma—think: Oprah—may bend the light waves in a room, oozing confidence and self-esteem, and we move closer because confidence makes others feel good. A person’s self-esteem guides our instant evaluations: “Hmm, if she likes herself, there must be something there for me to like, too.”
The deep secret of charismatic people, however, may be their ability to create synchrony, to induce you to adjust your bearing, speech rate, even heart rate—through locking eyes, through touch, or simply because you feel a strong rapport. Researchers believe our strongest perceptions of mutual attraction develop in those first encounters where two people have a measurable physiological reaction to one another. It’s not exactly chemistry—it’s more like electricity.
—Hara Estroff Marano
This is so very true! I like to think I have a bit of charisma (Yeah, I could be delusional) but my experiences with charismatic people is extensive. Back in the 90’s when Geraldo Rivera had his own show, I was invited to be a guest. I happily flew to New York and felt all important that I was going to meet “THE GERALDO” (this was before his Capone debacle) The hotel was nice, the limo driver sweet and then it was time to meet Geraldo. While sitting in the green room enjoying coffee and the company of the other authors (I had met before) I analyzed how so many people become so full of themselves for so little reason. (yeah Mark, that last remark was aimed at you, remember our discussion that day?) Anyway, Geraldo came in to introduce himself to us all before taping. I promise….as soon as he walked into the room it felt like light angles changed. It felt like there was a totally different atmosphere. It felt….ELECTRIC! Okay, okay, I know you’re reading this thinking I’m one of those “celebrity worshipers” but if you know me well, you know I’m not. I was astounded! He truly had charisma and it was a palpable feeling. I had to catch my breath! For a quick second, I hesitated as if I had nothing to say (see? I told you I was astounded) then I regained my composure and talked to him about his book. He graciously chatted and then offered to sign it. Of course, he made a sexual innuendo in the signature, but I promise, this man is charismatic! I had never thought of Geraldo as attractive physically, though I always respected his penchant for investigative reporting. (and his hair!!!) But after meeting him, it was evident to me why he was so successful.
I had this same experience with a man I dated for several years before getting married. I think I’ve talked about it before, but won’t bore you now. I’ll save it for later. The point is, he and I had a palpable attraction….one that other people could feel when they were with us.
Have you ever had this kind of experience? And if so, did you marry them? Did it last? Did you just walk away?
I want synchrony in my next relationship, if I have one. I never realized how exciting and important it is!