It seems like everyone these days is just waiting for an excuse to hate you. There's the obvious stuff: your stupid clothes, your ugly hair, that dumb thing you do when you laugh (God, what is up with that? It sounds like somebody kicked a walrus in the neck). But your many glaring personality flaws aside, sometimes the deck is just plain stacked against you for reasons you would never expect, much less think to avoid ...
5Your Profile Picture Is Too Close Up
Every online service practically demands that you have a close-up photo of your own face on your profile, if only to assure people that you're a real human being and not a penis-extender-hawking robot. The unfortunate truth is that not only do those close-ups show your blemishes in all of their hideous glory, but they also make you look less trustworthy and less attractive.
Researchers at Caltech performed several experiments measuring the relationship between proximity and likability. In one, they had volunteers judge photographs of people who were either 2 feet or 7 feet from the camera -- the same people, the same expression, the same clothes, and the same general aura of "This better not turn out to be a porn audition ... again." They found that the participants disliked the subjects more the closer they got to the camera. And it wasn't skewed by subtle differences in the photos. In another experiment, they merely warped a person's picture so that it seemed like he was closer to the camera:
If you look rapidly back and forth between the two photos, it will make you puke.
It's the exact same photo, slightly tweaked to make the man on the left seem closer to the viewer, and even then, people still believed that the man in the altered photo was less trustworthy, less attractive, and less competent, and probably smelled like diapers, too. It's a lot of dislike just from a straight-up profile shot, is what we're saying.
Researchers believe this has something to do with how our brain handles personal space. Even if it's just a picture, your subconscious doesn't like it when someone's standing too close to you, getting their mouth-air all up in your me-bubble. On some deep, stupid, primal level, our brain treats people in close-up photos like close-talkers, and shuns them accordingly -- or hey, maybe we just like people we perceive as farther away because it's less likely they'll hit us up for money or talk to us about politics.
Shit, that's her "We have to talk" face. Run!
4You Don't Open Your Eyes Wide Enough
Quick: Imagine somebody giving you "bedroom eyes." What do they look like? Kind of a half-open, come-hither stare, right? All right, now -- no, stop. Don't imagine them undressing and worshiping at the temple of your own genitals. The exercise is over! Jesus, you're pretty hard up, aren't you? Has it been a while?
Unfortunately, your "sexy" half-open gaze might be the reason for your dry spell. The truth is that the smaller others perceive your eyes to be, the less they like you. Researchers conducted a study on several hundred men and women and gave them two pictures to look at. Both photos were of the same man, but one had the man's eyes fully open, the other slightly closed. There was no subtle difference in expression: They Photoshopped the pictures to ensure that every single element, down to the individual hairs, were identical.
"Hi, I'm Chad. Would you like to get some coffee?"
"Who I am is of no concern. EAT COFFEE!"
Then they asked volunteers a series of questions about the person in the photograph: Does he look like he'd want a long-term or short-term relationship? Would he make a good neighbor? Does he seem like a good business partner? Does he seem safe to travel with? Do you think he'd flush after using the bathroom at a bar?
Women agreed that the squinting man was more likely interested in a short-term fling, but in every single category, the man with the wider eyes was rated higher: more trustworthy, more likeable, more stable, even more attractive. So why do we even have such a thing as "bedroom eyes"? Well, the scientists believe that wider eyes are more closely associated with youth, so a narrowed gaze might indicate sexual maturity. It's just that, according to lead researcher Daniel Kruger, your come-hither stare isn't worth it and "can come back to bite you."
"Wait, are you trying to seduce me or blame me for something?"
So there you go, Science said it: Next time you want to woo a member of the opposite sex, just open your eyes as wide as you can and stare at him or her, unblinking. That's pure trustworthy sexiness, right there.