You see him in a crowded room. He gracefully tips a glass of wine to his mouth and takes a sip. He laughs at something, then fixes his tie, puts one hand in his pocket. Sigh
You’re aching and panting on a stair stepper at your gym, and it seems like your heart couldn’t pound any faster … but it does … when he walks in. You watch him go to the weights and start lifting. You fall off the stair stepper. Sigh
At the restaurant, he’s at the table next to you. He’s laughing and playing with a little girl. They are. So. Adorable. Is she his daughter? Or could she be a niece … Please be a niece! You want him to be all yours. Sigh.
Ok. What do these three scenarios have in common?
Well, probably the fact that you … Have never seen these men before this moment, yet you feel like you’re in love with them.
So … Love at First Sight.
Ok, these scenarios didn’t really involve you per se, but you get the gist. This has happened to you before, right?
See a guy, fall in love.
What happens next is hit or miss, but … the question remains:
Does the phenomenon really exist? At least sometimes?
I guess what we’re asking is the cliché: Do you believe in love at first sight?
Let’s go to the science.
Appearance vs. Personality
The only way to tell if love at first sight is real is to look at the endgame. If two people end up together, happily ever after, and at least one of them felt that the first hint of the relationship actually started at first sight … then yes, we can say that it works!
But obviously, it doesn’t always work out. And one of the main reasons for this is appearance vs. personality. You cannot fully discern someone’s personality from 5 or 10 minutes of observing them. A little? Yeah, maybe.
But everything? How they react to conflict, what they believe in terms of religion and spirituality, whether they’re an introvert or extrovert … this all becomes obvious only with getting to know someone (i.e., talking and spending time together).
Appearance, on the other hand, can be taken as a thumbs up or thumbs down almost immediately. If you see someone who is the spitting image of Channing Tatum or George Clooney walk into the room, you can say immediately whether they are attractive or not. If Channing and George are your type … you can easily deduce they are attractive right away. And this can register in your human brain as: “Love.”
There are other markers that can make you feel like you love someone even when you don’t know them. The philosopher Bertrand Russell called this “knowledge by acquaintance.” For example, you might like …
- The way he smells
- The sound of his voice
- The way he moves
Love at First Sight: The Hits and Misses
Let’s start by being positive. When love at first sight does work, the appearance of someone and perhaps the observation of some of their mannerisms and tendencies can make you fall for them first.
This in turn, sets a positive stage for the next phases of love. In other words, you’re already on the train, so if you keep going in the same direction, true love could very easily be the destination.
If you get to know this guy better, and you come to like his overall:
- Level of kindness
- Interests and hobbies
- Morals and principles
- Sense of humor
…then the groundwork is laid even deeper, and you start racing toward the finish line. You are, as they say, head over heels at this point.
From there, however, things can go either way.
Often, when you randomly encounter someone and start to like them and get to know them better, there are one or two things you don’t know upon first contact that can throw everything else way off.
- You have diverging political or religious views
- He’s gay.
- He has an addiction or mental struggles that put him and potential relationships at risk.
- He’s married or in a committed relationship.
In other words, these are things you couldn’t have known. And in these cases … love at first sight must be deemed impossible … because you cannot say you truly loved someone if all you felt was an initial attraction. True love is deep rooted, committed and long lasting.
But! We don’t want to get your hopes up. It’s always good to know what you want and to find out more about someone you’re attracted to initially. You never know what could happen…
One piece of advice though …
Warning: Your Radar May Be Off
If you’re single right now—or really if you’ve ever been single—you know the feeling of being constantly “on the prowl.”
Ok, on the prowl may sound a bit too animalistic. Let’s just say you know the feeling of … looking. Of being Single and Looking.
When this is you, everyone is in your scope.
- Going to a wedding?
- Got a new job with all new co-workers?
- Friend’s “cute” cousin coming into town?
- Got an appointment with a new doctor?
All of these scenarios mean possible love for you. And in this way, you might feel like you’re seeing “love at first sight” at every corner. This is dangerous.
It’s good to get to know people and to put yourself out there, but feeling like you keep encountering potential loves every day can be exhausting and discouraging.
If you’re single and looking, be open to new people, and introduce yourself to guys you like the look of. But always be smart and stay grounded. The right one is out there somewhere, and soon enough, you’ll find him.