Vannessa Van Edwards is a human behavior investigator and the lead researcher at the Science of People.
Together with her team, Vanessa has done several interesting studies on human behavior, and according to her, most of the cues people give when they are attracted to or repelled by you are usually either chemical or evolutionary.
In other words, the things we do when we like someone are impulsive. If you’ve liked or fallen in love without knowing why, then you understand firsthand what this means.
We have a predesigned response to certain things in our environment. Hence, according to Vannessa, if you often notice these behaviors around you during social interaction, it means people find you charming.
1. The Intimacy Zone Breach
Have you watched concerts where one of the fans of a celebrity suddenly jumps on the stage and hugs them tightly? That’s a breach of the intimacy zone.
As Vannessa explained, the closer people want to be when interacting with you, the more charming they find you. In her words,
“Pay attention to the space around you and count how many times they come into your intimacy zone–it’s about 18 inches away from the body.”
You can also look at this the opposite way. Think of people who don’t like you. Not only do they hate coming close to you, being too close to you can make them sick. In other words, when someone hates you, they stay away from your intimacy zone.
So observe your environment. If you notice that people–or one person–like to come around you and relate with you at very close range, it’s a big sign that they find you charming.
Someone who finds you charming will not just come into your intimacy zone, they’ll also want to bond. How do they do this?
Well, as Vannessa explained, “When someone wants to reach out and physically have that skin-to-skin contact, they are trying to produce the hormone that makes them feel bonded.”
We all have experienced this on one level or the other. Chances are, the first time you go out on a date with someone, you don’t just start touching them. That’s not how it works.
Rather, the more time you spend with someone, and the closer you get, the more you can freely enjoy touching each other. On the other hand, when couples are quarreling or having a misunderstanding, they demonstrate it by distancing themselves from each other.
We touch people we want to connect with.
3. Enjoyed Mutual Gaze
We hardly want to look at people we don’t like, let alone enjoy a mutual gaze with them. When there’s a mutual gaze with someone you don’t like, energies rise, and one person usually ends up throwing a punch.
The kind of eye contact we make with the person we are attracted to is way different from the one we make with random people. When you find someone attractive, you enjoy locking eyes with them. Why? Well, Vannessa explained,
“The more mutual contact you have, the more bonded you’ll feel with someone, and the more oxytocin you’ll produce.”
In other words, locking eyes with some we find charming makes us feel good since it makes our brains release oxytocin.
So when you see someone coming close to you and getting lost in your eyes when you interact with them, that’s a huge sign that you charm them. They are trying to bond with you through a mutual gaze.
Interesting: Why Girls Like Bad Boys, According to Psychologists
In one interesting study by Vannessa and her team, they coded hundreds of hours of TED talk. They wanted to find what made the famous TED talks stand out.
For this research, they asked the participants to rank the speakers on charisma, credibility, and intelligence. The participants were divided into two groups. One group watched the videos with sound, while others didn’t.
Here’s what they found:
The participants who watched the videos with sound and on mute had the same ratings of the speakers. Meaning, people liked or disliked the speakers based on their body language, not based on what they were saying.
This research explains why we find some people charming, even when they are not good talkers. People pay attention to how you carry yourself, how you sit, how you demonstrate when you talk, how you make eye contact.
Even if you’re not a sweet talker but you have yourself together, you dress well, walk right, and have good posture, chances are, people find you more charming than you think.
5. Your Energy
Energy is perhaps the most important element in being a charming person. And according to Vannessa, people can pick up your energy just a few seconds after meeting you.
Here’s the thing: There’s this famous quote that says “Be careful what you tolerate, you’re teaching people how to treat you.” People don’t see you through their eyes. They see you through your own eyes. They’ll pick up whatever you tell them through your body language. As Vannessa concluded,
“Your energy is the cue for other people to decide how interesting you are.”
However, this doesn’t mean you have to be the loudest and the funniest person in the room to be interesting. We all have our strengths. Some people are good at demonstrating quiet strength. They don’t talk much, but they make people feel calm and safe around them.
6. Authentic Smile
You’ve probably heard that smiling scores you a few points in social interactions. But it’s not that simple.
Most celebrities and fictional characters like James Bond or Batman rarely smile in movies, but we are still drawn to them. Even from around you, I’m sure you’ve found a few people who don’t smile much but are still charming.
The important thing isn’t just smiling. There’s a sweet spot. As Vannessa explained in her research,
“What we found is that there was a sweet spot of 14 seconds. That even the most charismatic and intelligent leaders found something to smile about.”
In other words, your smile is even more valuable when it comes out at the right time. Charismatic and charming people demonstrate their authenticity even through a smile.
Most times we don’t know what draws people to us. But even if you may not know the reasons, knowing the signs is a good place to start.
We’ve all noticed most of some of these signs at one point or the other. It may be from colleagues at work or just from one person who finds you attractive. When you know the signs, you can find the reasons behind them.