Chpt. 5: “Attraction” Versus “Liking”

There is only one point you need to learn from this page: attraction and liking are not the same feeling! It is possible to feel attraction without liking and liking without attraction.

When you are talking with your friends, it is easy to get the two words confused. Does the question, “Who do you have a crush on?” mean, “who do you find attractive?” or does it mean, “who do you like?” What do you think? Probably, I bet, the correct answer is, “who do you find attractive?”

Attraction

Attraction is the experience of wanting. You can think of the two words as meaning the same thing. You want things that you are attracted to.
The feeling of wanting something isn’t fun or enjoyable. When you exercise you want water. This sensation is actually uncomfortable and is what motivates you to be attracted to things like water. In this example, you could say that you are attracted to water–you want it.

Liking

Attraction is the feeling of wanting something in the future. Liking is the pleasurable feeling of enjoying something right now. When something feels good, you like it. Drinking water after you exercise feels good so you learn to like it.

Can you see the difference? Attraction is what you think you will like in the future. Liking is something that you enjoy right now.

Generally, people are attracted to the things they like but NOT ALWAYS. Sometime, the brain can get confused and is attracted to something that it is actually dislikes. Think about certain people for example. Maybe you know someone who is very beautiful but also a jerk. They are attractive because they are beautiful but you dislike them because they are a jerk. In this case, you are attracted to someone you dislike.

Attraction and Liking In the Brain

Attraction and liking come from two different parts of the brain. Feelings of attraction come mostly from a brain circuit know as the “mesolimbic system.” The brain chemical dopamine is used a lot in this system. Liking comes from a different part of the brain that is located closer to were your head and neck meet. The brain chemical used when you like something is called “natural opioid.” Don’t worry about the fancy brain science. Just remember that attraction and liking come from two different parts of the brain.

It is because feelings of attraction and liking come from two different parts of the brain that they can be pulled apart. Often, both systems turn on together but this isn’t always true. Sometimes, one system turns on without the other. When this happens, people can do some funny things.

Queen Bee Worshiping (Attraction without Liking)

You can probably guess what Queen Bee worshiping is. Most students are guilty of it at least sometimes. Have you ever noticed that popular students such as the Queen Bee can get what they want from other people even if no one really likes them? For example, sometimes the Queen Bee can be really mean to someone one day. Then the next day, they can ask the same person for a favor and get it. How does this happen? Being mean to someone should make them not like you and not want to do you a favor.

Queen Bees get favors from people that dislike them because attraction and liking are two different things. Queen Bees are attractive and they stay attractive even if they are mean to someone. Doing favors is one form that input of energy takes. Input of energy is always the result of attraction which means so long as the Queen Bee is attractive, she will still get input of energy even if she is disliked.

This is Queen Bee worshiping. Even if students dislike them, input of energy still happens.


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