What makes someone attractive?

James H (Year 10), Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Well, here you are again. Thinking about them. 

It’s been months and they still manage to pester your mind daily.  It might be their face, their hair, their eyes… or maybe it’s their voice? You’ve been obsessing over them for so long that you don’t even know what makes you attracted to them, you just are.  

You’ve started to take on their mannerisms, perhaps even forced yourself to like the things they like – whether for the better or worse. Your music taste has changed in an attempt to get in touch with them a little, and you surprisingly like it.  

It’s controlling you, what you do, how you think. How long has it been, maybe half a year now? It’s surely an unhealthy obsession, but you can’t help it – maybe you enjoy it? 

You know it’s going nowhere. Maybe you don’t actually like them that much. You even get to the point where you need to try to convince yourself you don’t like them – nope, you unquestionably do.  

But in the end, what is it that makes someone attractive? 

I’ve gone over this article a few times, but I couldn’t seem to find a proper grounding for how to approach this question. Initially, I of course took to Buzzfeed to see what they had to say. While it was fun to take plenty of quizzes to find the initials of my soulmates based on how I would design a house under 5.2 million dollars, it wasn’t particularly helpful in answering my question. 

Moving on, I decided to get some quick data from people I knew in order to answer the question. As you could have probably guessed, asking a group of year 10 boys for factors that make someone attractive via an online anonymous survey is never going to be a good idea.  

Answers like “having 6 eyes” and “a love for Greek yoghurt” affirmed that it definitely wasn’t at all helpful to survey that group of people. 

I very well could have gone on the path of something very heartfelt and emotional for this article… Obviously that’s a terrible idea that I will not entertain.   

So, perhaps slightly disappointingly, I landed on the more scientific side of things.  

Going through various sources, I discovered a general theme as to what made someone attractive, which I’ll take a dive into shortly. 

Physical Appearance: 

It seems to be the obvious answer, and yet not at the same time. I’m sure everyone has had experiences where they find someone attractive because of their physical appearance in some way, shape, or form. However, you’ll find that when people are asked what they look for in partners, physical attractiveness is often neglected. Instead, attributes like personality, humour, intelligence, skills, and more are prioritised. In actuality, physical attractiveness more often than not comes to prevalence over other qualities in the topic of making someone attractive.  


As it turns out, being physically close to someone for extended and regular periods of time increases your likelihood of being attracted to them. You might have noticed celebrity couples coming to light after filming a TV series or movie, and this is a perfect example of how proximity increases attraction.  


Branching from proximity, your environment can shape and nurture what you find to be attractive. Factors like your parents, peers, and media all shape features you do and don’t find attractive. The medium by which you learn what is and isn’t attractive comes in many different forms, but everyone experiences it to some capacity.  

And for the record, no I will not be entertaining the ideologies of Sigmund Freud. 

It’s interesting to think about what factors of attractiveness are inherent in your genetics and what can be developed by the environment around you, but this article isn’t the time for a nature vs nurture debate.  


It’s no surprise that the way somebody acts and behaves can impact how attractive they are. Personality traits, especially kindness, seem to have a positive impact on how attractive someone appears to be. 

A 2007 study put this to the test, asking participants to rate photos of people based on attractiveness. The same photos were surveyed again but with short descriptions, where people who were described as kind ranked higher than those without a description. 

Opposite Attraction 

Opposites attract. We’ve all heard it. It’s a common saying that gets thrown around often. Well, turns out that it generally isn’t true. Most people still think that there is some attraction between opposites, but this attraction is more prevalent when people are similar to each other.  

An American psychologist, Donn Byrne, put this to the test in what was known as a phantom stranger experiment. Different people were asked their thoughts on different topics. They were then asked to rate how attractive other people might be based solely on their responses to the same questionnaire. The results found that the ones who answered similarly were found to be more attractive.   

While this test doesn’t form a definitive basis against opposite-based attraction, it does appear that when it comes to people’s attitudes alone, the more similar two people are, the greater the attraction is.