How attraction works
Have you ever taken a moment to think about what makes you attractive to a love interest? Is it your body language, your conversation, your appearance or your life experience?
Is it your level of ambition, your relationship with your family/ friends, your strong beliefs or the commitment you have to your health and fitness? When you're dating, it's worthwhile giving some thought to this and putting your best foot forward by playing to your strengths.
Consider the people that you've dated and been in relationships with over the last few years. This will give you plenty of information to begin to understand what makes you so attractive. In short, think about what these people particularly liked about you and what you liked about them?
Break it up into the following areas:
Conversation Your ability to ask questions, listen, make your partner feel special and important. Letting them finish talking, getting to know what makes them tick, being interested and curious about them.
Appearance / body language The way you look when you're out on a date. The clothes you wear, your accessories, how much effort you put in. As well, your non-verbal communication - eye contact, posture, how close you sit, touch.
Beliefs / values The things you feel strongly about. What's really important to you - politics, the environment, religion, education, parenting, relationships and health. What drives you and why?
Competence / intelligence Your accomplishments, achievements, your skill base and your knowledge. Your education, the books you've read and the courses you've studied.
Social networks The people you hang around with and what you do together. Your different groups of friends and the individuals that you spend your time with.
Career / ambition The goals that you have and your drive to reach them. How you are committed to making a difference and where you see your life in the years to come. Interests / hobbies Your different passions. The activities and pursuits that really excite you and make you a more interesting person.
It's also worthwhile thinking about what you've done in your life - your life experiences. Your travel experiences, career highlights, past relationships, concerts, eating experiences - lessons learned along the way.
Consider all of these areas and any others that you think are relevant. Ask yourself "What makes me attractive?" If you're struggling to do this then remember back to what your dates and previous partners told you. What did they compliment you on? What impressed them about you? Why did they want to go out with you? These are your points of difference.
Now if you're happy with these strengths - continue to focus on them when you're dating. For instance if you're a great conversationalist, really concentrate on this and show your partner how good you are at talking and listening.
If, on the other hand, you think that there are other factors that make you attractive but people don't really know about, then make some changes. Start to show off these new factors. For example if your passion is the outdoors, let them know, show your enthusiasm and ask if they would like to share a new outdoor experience with them on your next date.
As part of understanding what makes you attractive, it's also important to think about what you are attracted to in other people. It's the combination of the factors listed above, and of course chemistry, that creates an attraction. It's going to be different for everyone, and you want to stand out and shine in your own special way so be authentic and make a great impression.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 9's series Married At First Sight, and the ABC doco Making Couples Happy. He is also the author of the book "Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track" (www.johnaiken.com.au)