The fitness industry is booming. Everyone wants to be more attractive. The ones with the pretty face want to have a more perfect waist. The total market size of the global fitness industry is worth over $87 billion. And our obsession with fitness reveals one truth:

We are aware that even if we all didn’t win the genetic lottery on good looks, there’s a lot we can do to drastically increase our attractiveness.

But besides building the perfect body, there’s another aspect that contributes even more to our attractiveness: Our behavior or character. We’ve all come across incredibly good-looking people who we couldn’t stand just a few minutes after meeting them. Why? Bad character.

Sometimes we do repulsive things without knowing. Sometimes we do them out of ignorance. Here’s a list of some things science and psychologists have discovered to make people less attractive.

1. That Danger in Playing Cool

Some of us believe that acting like we don’t need others is a cool thing to do. But according to research, it isn’t. In fact, studies show that people tend to forget about you when you act like you don’t need them.

In their research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, psychologists Richard Moreland and Scott Beach tried to understand the place of exposure or engagement in building attraction with others.

In the studies, four women of similar looks pretended to be students in a large college psych course. They found that the lesser the other students saw and engaged with a particular woman, the less attractive the students perceived her.

In social psychology, this is called the mere exposure effect. And it explains that we tend to feel more comfortable, and consequently more attracted to people we are familiar with. Just by merely being exposed to someone ― or something ― we develop a preference for them.

It’s good to be self-reliant. But there are better ways to demonstrate it than by pushing people away. If you aim to be more attractive to others, then engage with them more. Smile and say hi the next time you see someone you know. The more familiar you are to them, the more attractive they’ll find you.

Interesting: 3 Signs You’re More Attractive Than You Think

2. Clinginess

Just because people tend to find you more attractive when you’re familiar doesn’t mean you should become clingy. The key is to find the balance. No one likes clingy people. As psychologist Irene Levine Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today,

“Friends need a balance of time together and time apart to grow. When a friend is extremely possessive and clingy, it’s easy to become resentful.”

Why do some people become clingy?

The most common reason is insecurity. Especially in romantic relationships, people can become clingy, worrying over every little detail about the things their partners are involved in because they are anxious about losing them.

Friends also become clingy either because they are too afraid to be alone or because they find it difficult to form new connections. This makes them hold on too tightly to what they currently have. Whatever the reason for clinginess may be, it’s repulsive because it shows neediness.

3. Laziness

Being lazy has a chain of negative implications. First of all, lazy people are uninspiring. Their lack reminds us of what we don’t want to become. Secondly, laziness indicates a form of neediness. A lazy person most likely hasn’t learned to be independent.

On the other hand, hardworking and successful people inspire us. Their show of independence and self-belief draws us to them. This is one of the reasons we are drawn to celebrities. For most, the luxurious lifestyle celebrities live gives them hope that it’s attainable. So many Medium writers keep writing because of the testimonies of those who have made a huge success on Medium. Successful people inspire us. As psychologist Lawrence Joseph, Ph.D. explained in Psychology Today,

“Professional success is attractive. Our education, and the more money we make, can make us more attractive. A hardworking, ambitious, and conscientious person is going to be more attractive than a lazy and inconsiderate person.”

In romantic relationships, a hardworking partner is simply more desirable firstly because they give us a sense of security we all crave. And secondly, hard work is a good measure of self-reliance.

Also read: Why Women Find Busy Men Attractive

4. Serial Flirting

We’ve all seen people who like to get flirtatious with everyone, throwing compliments and calling casual friends by pet names. While this may not be a toxic habit, it can make you less attractive to that one special person when it’s time to make a move on her (or him). As Lawrence Joseph further explained in Psychology Today,

“It’s best to seem like you’re not a person who likes everyone indiscriminately or just uses flattery on everybody to get to first base. You have to seem like you are a genuinely selective person in your likings for people to feel special.”

The idea here is quite understandable: If you act like you like everyone indiscriminately, at some point, your gestures are going to come off as fake. When you truly care about someone, it will be difficult to show it. Even when you’re making romantic advances towards them, they might think that’s the way you probably act with everyone. As Dr. Lawrence concluded, “we want to be liked by people who have a special discernment for us.”

Final Thoughts

Good-looking people get more attention quickly. However, it takes a person with the right attitude to be charming. People should find you likable because of who you are, not just for how you look. You’ll get to have both their respect and their admiration.

Related: 6 Tiny Habits That Make You Less Attractive

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