To quote Leonardo DiCaprio, “Who doesn’t like the idea that you could see someone tomorrow and she could be the love of your life? It’s very romantic.” And to think of it, a lot of romantic movies and poetry are based on the concept of love at first sight. You may refuse to believe in it but you can’t completely discard the idea.
According to a study, it’s men who generally experience love at first sight. The study also found that women are more likely to say “I love you” first in a relationship. Perhaps, this can be attributed to the fact that attraction is one of the prime criteria for men to fall in love, and that’s why they seem to fall in love at first sight more often than women. So let’s shed our cynicism for once, and look at the love at first sight meaning and how it perpetuates, with an open mind.
You see so many men and women every day, and so many of them are charming and attractive. You might even feel infatuated with some. How is this infatuation different from romantic love at first sight? What are the signs of love at first sight? What does love at first sight feel like? Let’s answer all these and many other questions that this concept must raise in your mind so that you’re ready to embrace love at first sight should it ever happen to you.
Can You Really Fall In Love At First Sight?
Ok, let’s address the most likely question swirling through your mind right now – does love at first sight happen in reality or just in movies like Titanic and with celebs like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? The answer: Yes, it does! Love at first sight means you feel an instant, extreme, and ultimately long-lasting romantic attraction for a stranger when you spot or get introduced to them.
Agreed, it might be purely physical attraction, just an infatuation not love, and it may not even last that long but consider it the first step toward the process of falling and staying in love. The question is: what fuels this crush at first sight, instant chemistry, desirability, or whatever you may choose to call it? And is it even real? To help you find the answers, let’s take a look at some theories that support the occurrence of love at first sight:
1. It’s all scientific
Truth be told, the phenomenon of love at first sight wasn’t just born out of a romantic poet or writer’s vivid imagination. There is actual science at work here. In a study titled Neuroimaging of Love: fMRI Meta‐Analysis Evidence toward New Perspectives in Sexual Medicine, neuroscientist Stephanie Cacioppo and her team of researchers figured that there are 12 areas of your brain that work together to release chemicals that can bring about that wonderful feeling of being in love.
2. Chemistry and more
Have you ever thought, how does love at first sight feel? The seemingly clichéd ‘butterflies in the stomach’ maxim is actually related to hormones that make you feel warm and fuzzy. The chemistry between two people is fueled by hormones like dopamine and serotonin as well as norepinephrine. Their functions? To make you feel giddy and energetic, almost like you are on drugs. And love is nothing less than a drug.
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3. The brain and heart dilemma
Interestingly, it’s not just the brain that tells you whether you feel attraction or not. The heart feels it too, so love at first sight happens through a great combination of two organs working in tandem. A study by Professor Stephanie Ortigue of Syracuse University, USA, found that, when some part of the brain is activated, there can be some stimulation in the heart as well. Perhaps that’s why your heart starts beating faster when you see your crush.
4. The role of attractiveness
Wondering what makes a man fall in love at first sight or a woman develop a crush at first fight? Attractiveness. While pure physical attraction may not be the secret to finding your potential soulmate, it can at least get the ball rolling. Now society does say that what is beautiful lies on the inside. But we cannot know how a person is the first time we meet them. But, if they are beautiful to look at, the chances of you falling in love with a stranger, at first sight, increase greatly.
Now, the definition of attractive may vary from person to person, and perhaps it isn’t right to talk about looks in these politically correct times. But the fact is that attractive people do draw attention and there are higher chances of them falling for equally beautiful people. Now, this attraction might be based on looks or intellect or some other factor, but when you find another person who mirrors your desires, it’s easier to fall in love with them at first sight.
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5. Don’t believe in the science behind it all? Keep the faith
What makes a person fall in love at first sight may not just be limited to the science and your level of attractiveness. Heard that old saying, “Magic happens when you believe in it”? The same goes for love at first sight. If you are not convinced about the science behind it, perhaps it can help to have a little faith.
When the right person comes along, you will see the signs that you have chemistry. Perhaps, all those love at first sight songs you have heard while growing up, start playing in your head. Just believe it’s happening for a reason. Love at first sight does feel euphoric. It’s all about serendipity, a happy accident as they call it.
Science and love at first sight
A lot of us have read Mills and Boons and we know what happens there. Love at first sight is not really a far-fetched idea, it’s what a lot of us believe in, and a lot of us are open to. If there is attraction and you are open to having a romantic relationship, that might just manifest itself as love at first sight. However, there is no way you can overlook the loopholes of this concept.
The worst-case scenario is that you fall in love at first sight and then find out the person you’ve fallen for is not who you thought them to be and you lose interest slowly. Maybe your likes and dislikes, your politics, and things you want from life are diametrically opposite. You may have jumped in hoping that incredible things will happen now that you have met your soulmate. In reality, they may not be on the same page as you when it comes to love and romance.
Despite so much contradiction, a poll by Elite Singles reveals that 61% of women and 72% of men believe in love at first sight. It could be difficult to explain love at first sight based on romantic assumptions and so we resort to science. Studies show that the experience of love at first sight for a man/woman is not marked by high passion, intimacy, or commitment. Rather physical attraction is the major component influencing the phenomenon.
Another study analyzes the process of rapid evaluation of minimal information during a real-life speed dating event and it shows that two particular areas in the prefrontal cortex of our brain are responsible for the attraction between two people in such a setting. As these two areas get activated, we don’t make real-world romantic decisions solely based on desirability. Within a few seconds, they can accurately predict romantic desires guided by multiple distinct, rapid social evaluations, and physical and psychological judgments.
What Are The Signs For Love At First Sight?
For hopeless romantics, there is really no explanation for love at first sight except that they feel it. However, there are telltale signs of love at first sight that will explain if you have really experienced it when you met someone special. Most of these are physical signs but there are certain emotions at play here too. So be mindful of both. You can actually end up showing love at first sight body language. So, what does love at first sight really feel like?
Your heart pounds, your breath hitches at the sight of them, and you cannot take your eyes off them no matter how much you try. But that is not all there is to it. To make sense of what you’re experiencing when you find yourself pulled toward a person you’ve just met, watch out for these signs it’s love at first sight.
1. The eyes start to act
There is a reason why it’s called love at first ‘sight’. You have to ‘see’ and, more importantly, like what you see. Say, you walk into a chic Soho bar and settle in with a drink only to spot the hottie at the other table. Almost involuntarily your gaze goes there, more than once. It just means that your eyes have made a connection. This can be one of the telltale signs of love at first sight from a man.
An inability to take your eyes off someone, no matter how hard you may try to act cool and unfazed, is one of the first signs of love at first sight. So, even if you are afraid of getting caught by the person, the fear of potential embarrassment and awkwardness is still not enough to keep your eyes off them. After all, they say that the eyes can tell a thousand stories. And your eyes, at the moment of the fateful encounter, will be showing all the signs of love at first sight.
2. Your brain works with your eyes
Science says all it takes is 100 milliseconds to know if someone is a potential partner. So, one of the signs of love at first sight from a man/woman is when they stare intensely at you as if they can see into your very soul. When the eyes lock, you are subconsciously sizing up their possible trustworthiness, intellect, and depth to see if they match yours.
A reciprocal glance takes it to another level altogether. And bingo, suddenly you are hit with attraction at first sight and begin to hear all those love at first sight songs. In case you are wondering, “How does love at first sight feel?”, this is exactly how – the world becomes a merrier, sunnier place, and what you’re experiencing seems like a scene from the movies.
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3. Your body language changes
The body language of love at first sight is interesting to note. No matter who the person is, you see him or her as a genuine being. This is also one of the first signs of love at first sight from a girl. Women are prone to being careful and keeping people at a distance. They typically don’t get comfortable around strangers.
So, if she seems relaxed around you – when her posture gets languid and she passionately engages in conversation with you – know that you may be seeing the first signs of love at first sight from a girl. Even if men may find themselves feeling unusually relaxed and at ease around a person they’re attracted to. There might even be a small involuntary sway of the body. And you may end up smiling a lot more during your conversations with Mr/Miss Potential.
4. You feel real and completely yourself
Often in social situations, etiquette and context may demand you behave a certain way that’s not your natural self. Perhaps your jokes don’t land with your friends. But this person appears to just get your sense of humor, and the rest of you. Perhaps your style quotient isn’t appreciated by others. But he/she finds reasons to compliment you. Basically, you can be real with them. What does love at first sight feel like? It feels like you have just found your soulmate.
5. The sync happens smoothly
Opposites don’t really attract. Often we go for those with whom we share similarities, at least initially. The qualities that you really admire, or perhaps the ones that remind you of your parents, might be evident in this person. And this can really make love at first sight happen. Did you find yourself completing each other’s sentences? Did you laugh at the same sequence? Well, these are signs that the dopamine may be working overtime.
Is love at first sight mutual always, though? Maybe not. Sometimes you may fall in love at first sight with someone who barely knows you exist and has no idea about the raging attraction that you feel toward them. If you are lucky, the signs of love at first sight will make both of your stomachs tingle at the same time and usher in a never-ending romantic fairytale.
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6. Suddenly the world ceases to matter
The best way to test if you have fallen in love with someone you just met is to reflect on your interaction with him or her in a group setting. If you got introduced to the person, who may become the love of your life in the future, as part of a group, think about how you behaved.
Do you remember what he said more than what others did? Did you stop noticing your surroundings to focus only on her? Were you two stealing glances at each other? Did you secretly hope you’d get to know them better? Yes, yes, and yes? These are all sure-shot signs of love at first sight.
7. You are curious about them
If a person interests you, he or she will hold your attention for a long while. This will naturally lead to curiosity. Often when you meet new people, you indulge in small talk where you ask perfunctory questions about their work, life, and interests. But this time it might be different. You may end up asking the right get-to-know-me questions to get to know the other person better. You’re genuinely curious about them and it reflects in the way you talk to them.
8. You start picturing a life with them
Hands down, this is one of the most promising signs it’s love at first sight. From the very first moment you lock eyes with them, your brain keeps telling you that this is the person you have been waiting for your whole life. You are destined to be together. And the panoramic mode turns on.
You start painting a picture-perfect life and draw imaginary scenarios – how he will propose or how she will look walking down the aisle in a gorgeous dress. Oh my god! Does the daydreaming ever stop? You almost name your kids and imagine that idyllic house in the countryside where you will settle down…and the movie plays on.
9. You experience a sense of familiarity
What you experience is almost as strong as soulmate energy. It seems like you have known them for all eternity. You feel you can be your true self around them because there is a strange intimacy between you. The desire to walk up to them and start a conversation becomes hard to resist. And that’s another way to explain love at first sight.
10. Romantic songs and films appeal
They say those who believe in love at first sight usually love romcoms more than other genres. The reverse is true as well. Perhaps, you involuntarily find yourself seeking re-runs of Notting Hill or My Best Friend’s Wedding on Netflix. It’s because external stimuli like movies or songs or books may actually add to the feeling of attraction your system is already flooded with.
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Why Love At First Sight Can be Dangerous
The signs are there, the reason is there but what about the flip side to this otherwise rose-tinted idea of love? While it would be cynical to assume that love at first sight can never happen, it is naïve to presume that it’d always lead to a romantic happily-ever-after. To take this experience with a grain of salt and protect yourself from the pain of heartbreak, it’s worth being mindful of a few less-than-ideal aspects of this phenomenon:
1. Reality can be different
It is essential to remember that just because the love chemicals were working at the same level for both of you doesn’t mean that it will last forever. So be realistic even as you enjoy the first flush of romance. Relationship equations change, so love at first sight may not turn into everlasting love. Even if you are seeing all the signs of love at first sight, you may find out that, once you get to know the person, you don’t actually get along as well as you thought you did.
2. It can be shallow
Attractiveness plays a huge role in love at first sight. But looks are superficial. A strong crush may prevent you from looking beyond the first signs of love. Eventually, there might be compatibility issues that run deeper than your feelings of love. When you have only seen a person from afar or met them casually, there is no way to know what they are like in real life. So, chances are that it is all built upon a shallow physical attraction.
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3. You may alienate friends
The body language of love at first sight says it all. You may be constantly enveloped in thoughts of your crush. So much so that it may actually lead you to drift apart from your other friends. Intense attraction at first sight may sometimes drive you to make bad decisions. Given that friends tend to be protective, they may try to keep you from obsessing over this person. This may lead to some friction between you and your friends since you could be left feeling that they just don’t get what you feel.
4. Logic might take a backseat
You might not heed the warning signals. Without elaborating, let’s just give one movie example – Double Jeopardy! Mad attraction or instant love doesn’t allow for logical thinking. Perhaps, that gorgeous man or stunning woman you felt was perfect may not turn out to be that great after all.
5. It might hurt more
If your experience turns into something beautiful, then it’s a great story. However, if you later realize you fell for the wrong person, the recovery from the heartbreak can be much tougher as you invest a lot more emotions here than you would in a well-thought-out, slow-paced relationship.
- Love at first sight is a scientifically backed phenomenon that is mostly influenced by physical attraction
- Though it may seem like true love, the infatuation can fall apart when you get to know the real person
- Your body language changes around this person and you feel extremely comfortable in your own skin
- There is a strange familiarity as if you have met them somewhere before
- You become super curious to know about them and start picturing a life together
- The reality might hit hard if you later find out that they are not on the same page as you are
The dangers aside, everyone has fallen in love at first sight at least once in their life. For some it may have happened in high school, for others, it may have happened at a work meeting, but on the relationship chart, this is a story that everyone must have and nurture. If nothing else, take it as the foundation stone of building something strong and meaningful. As Leonardo DiCaprio said, “Keep the faith”, and all will be good!
You can fall in love with someone you just met. Love at first sight means you feel an instant, extreme, and ultimately long-lasting romantic attraction for a stranger when you spot or get introduced to him or her.
In a study titled Neuroimaging of Love: fMRI Meta‐Analysis Evidence toward New Perspectives in Sexual Medicine, neuroscientist Stephanie Cacioppo and her team of researchers figured that there are 12 areas of your brain that work together to release chemicals that can bring about that wonderful feeling of being in love.
Love at first sight might take off with an instant physical attraction and you start showing the signs of chemistry or the love at first sight body language. But when you get into a relationship and it translates into something long-term then it becomes love.
When you feel you are totally in sync and the world around you suddenly ceases to exist, you might have found your soulmate.
Studies claim that the odds of falling in love at first sight are pretty high. For example, you meet a person at a random bar or even in your uni class, and bam! your heart starts beating like you just finished running a marathon. It is true that some of those feelings can be attributed to pure attraction to the physical attractiveness of the person. But while that is enough for a crush, it can be called true love at first sight when it goes beyond pure physical attraction and instead starts making you feel like you may have just found your soulmate.