In every group, there’s that one person who always manages to stand out.
He’s the boss’ favorite; she’s always at the top of the party guest list. You can’t hate this person, even if you tried — but what is it that makes him/her so magnetic?
There are certain traits that all combine to make someone attractive, and they’re a product of genes, the environment, and evolution, David Sack, MD, chief medical officer of Elements Behavioral Health, tells Yahoo Health. But if you don’t naturally have that same magnetic pull, here’s the good news: “You can work to improve these traits,” Sack explains.
So what is it about these people that make them so likable? We broke it down.
The secrets to attraction, revealed. (Photo: Nadeen Nakib for Yahoo Health/Getty)
Their optimism is contagious.
The fact that they always seem to see the glass as half full allows them to express empathy, deepening relationships and connections. While optimism does seem to be genetic on some level (a UCLA study showed that feelings of optimism and self-esteem are linked with a specific oxytocin receptor gene), you can still learn to be optimistic, says Sack. “Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation can help you overcome a negative bias in your thinking,” he says.
They’re quick thinkers — and can charm their way through any conversation.
Charisma — the overwhelming attractiveness of a person that inspires devotion from others — is an obvious trait of a magnetic person, and new research suggests that the ability to think quickly is tied to charisma. Researchers from the University of Queensland found that the faster study participants performed on mental speed tasks, the higher the likelihood they were to be rated as “charismatic” by their friends.
They exude confidence.
When a person is comfortable in his or her skin, it’s easier to take on leadership roles and earn respect. You don’t have to act cocky to mimic this trait, just don’t compare yourself to people around you. “When you do this, you feel inferior and then the focus comes off of you and who you are — and instead turns to how you are inadequate,” says Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, founder of The Center, A Place of HOPE, a counseling and depression treatment center in Edmonds, Washington.
They show their true selves.
It’s their authenticity and ability to stay true to themselves that keeps them happy. Research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that this authenticity helps them stay healthy, too. If you know who you are and stick to it, you’ll be more satisfied with your life and that satisfaction can improve your well-being.
Related: 9 Traits That Attract Women
They speak eloquently.
Even when they don’t know what they’re talking about, they always come off polished and graceful. Skilled speakers can motivate their audience and spark emotions like trust. This is seen in presidential candidates — the ones who dodge questions with grace instead of answer with uncertainty are more popular, according to a study in the Harvard Business Review.
They’ve got a killer sense of humor.
When they cause a group to laugh, it makes everyone around them more comfortable. Humor is a great ice-breaker, but it also shows off smarts. When you have a good sense of humor, you have complex cognitive abilities. “In order to be funny or find something funny, a person must be able to rethink themselves into the mindset of others,” Sack explains.