Why We are Attracted to Confidence?

We are all social beings, so we look for cues from our environment on how to act, and cues from others on how we should treat them.

Confidence is attractive, right? According to most people: yes.

Confidence continuously tops the lists of desirable traits in a romantic partner and was named by Forbes as one of the top three traits employers look for in prospective employees.

But why?

There is a scientific reason why we are attracted to confidence. We are social beings, so we look for cues from our environment on how to act, and cues from others on how we should treat them. That is why confident body language is often inherently trustworthy: relaxed shoulders, stillness, (or lack of fidgeting), maintained eye contact, and hands out where you can see them. It is built to instil trust in your abilities, and when you trust yourself, you give others the message that you are worth their trust too.

Social messages like these have evolved as mental shortcuts; economical ways to save time on decision-making. We form (often short-sighted) impressions of people’s personalities in these brief instances, and this saves us the time it would take to gather more extensive data. Because you get such a limited window of time to make an impression, confidence helps draw people to you faster.

The other reason confidence appears successful: it signifies a “winner”. You do not need to watch a nature documentary to know that confidence tends to intimidate the competition. People who are less sure of themselves are warded off by those who stake their claim. It is survival-of-the-fittest 101. We place our trust in people who believe in themselves because they have deemed themselves fit to “make it”.  When you are confident, you convince others that you have abilities to be confident in.

Furthermore, self-esteem, which is strongly linked to confidence, shows how people perceive their own relational value. So, by displaying confidence, you are essentially informing others that you are not only accepted and well-liked by yourself, but by others as well another promising sign of survival capabilities. (Your chances of survival are higher if you are well-liked by others).

However, before you start carrying your head an inch taller to attract a mate or land your dream job, you should know that there is a difference between appearing confident, and genuinely feeling it. And it is obvious after some more time.

For example, false negatives, such as people who fake their confidence do not reap the same rewards as people who actually are confident. And “faking it ‘til you make it” only works as a temporary fix, under certain circumstances. You can reach those external mile markers, but if you are not aiming to internalize what you perform, you will not develop the same level of core resilience needed to get you through times when false confidence falls flat.

Moreover, falsely magnetic personalities may charm those who are less fit to judge others’ worth for themselves, because they trust wholeheartedly in superficial appearances; without investing the time to search under the surface. Therefore, the “attractive” benefits of developing genuine confidence are two-fold: Not only will you be a genuinely higher quality prospect to others, but you’ll attract more genuinely matched company as well.

So, confidence is key to attraction, but more importantly: It only matters to the extent that you believe it. If you sincerely think you are worth it, you will assert your worth by only accepting what (and who) you deserve. The first step to attracting a worthy opportunity is truly believing you are worth it. The added bonus of developing authentic confidence in yourself? No matter who you attract; at the end of the day, you are certain to have yourself by your side.