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Archive for April, 2010

“Opposites attract” is a law of attraction, at least where electromagnetism is concerned. But are there laws about attraction between two people? “In a world that is full of strangers” as a line in a famous song of the 1980’s goes, is there a clear set of rules that allows two people to fall for each other?

Is attraction a matter of chemistry?

Maybe. According to scientists, the attraction between animals of the opposite sex is all about chemicals called pheromones. The effect of pheromones in behavior of insects is the most studied to date. It has been observed, at least in some experiments, that pheromones are responsible for communication among same species and colony of ants. The horrible odor released by skunks to ward off enemies is said to be a kind of pheromone. Some species of apes rub pheromone-containing urine on the feet of potential mates to attract them. Some scientists believe that animals (usually the females) such as insects and mammals send out these chemical signals to tell the male of their species that their genes are different from theirs. This gene diversity is important in producing offspring with better chances of survival. The perfume industry has capitalized on pheromones as a means to increase one’s sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex. Animals such as the whale and the musk deer were hunted down for these chemicals.

Lately, scientists are looking into the existence of human pheromones and its role in mate selection. There are many conflicting views in the realm of biology, chemistry, genetics, and psychology. Most scientists would assert that these do not exist, or if they do, do not play a role in sexual attraction between a man and a woman. But new researches such as that conducted by Swiss researchers from the University of Bern led by Klaus Wedekind are slowly making these scientists rethink their stand. Their experiment involved women sniffing the cotton shirts of different men during their ovulation period. It was found out that women prefer the smell of men’s shirts that were genetically different, but also shared similarities with the women’s genes. This, like in the case of insects and other mammals, was to ensure better and healthier characteristics for their future children. But researchers also cautioned that preference for a male odor is affected by the women’s ovulation period, the food that men eat, perfumes and other scented body products, and the use of contraceptive pills.

Does personality figure in sexual attraction?

Yes, but so does your perception of a potential mate’s personality. According to a research conducted by Klohnen, E.C., & S. Luo in 2003 on interpersonal attraction and personality, a person’s sense of self-security and at least the person’s perception of his/her partner were found to be strong determinants of attraction in hypothetical situations. What does this tell us? We prefer a certain personality type, which attracts you to a person. But aside from the actual personality of the person, which can only be verified through close interaction through time, it is your perception of your potential partner that attracts you to him/her, whether the person of your affection truly has that kind of personality or not. This could probably account for a statement commonly heard from men and women on their failed relationships: “I thought he/she was this kind of person.”

So how does attraction figure in business relationships?

You have probably heard that attraction is a prelude, or a factor towards a business relationship. Most probably, at least in the beginning; but attraction alone cannot make a Business relationship work. It is that attraction that makes you notice a person, but once you get to know the person more, attraction is just one consideration or opinon. Shared values, working on projects, and passions become more significant in long-term business relationships.

So should I stop trying to become attractive?

More than trying to become physically attractive, work on all aspects of your health: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Physical attraction is still a precursor. Looking good is always a plus but remember that attraction can wear  off and what do you have left the emotional state of attraction. Where your emotions are concerned, just ask this to yourself: would you want to spend time with a person who feels insecure about him/herself, bad business ethics, emotionally unstable? Probably not! There is wisdom in knowing yourself: who you are, your beliefs, values, and integrity. And do not pretend to be someone you are not. Fooling another person by making him/her think that you share the same values and beliefs is only going to cause you both disappointments. When you are healthy in all aspects, attractiveness becomes a consequence and not an end. Attraction becomes from the core person you are and will attract others that want to be associated with. As mentioned in the Klohnen and Luo’s research, a person’s sense of self-security matters, perhaps even beyond attraction. But remember: do these things for yourself and not for other people. Only then can you truly harness your attractiveness as a person which will attract others.

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Relationships of all kinds are often perceived as very delicate things, that require extra effort to maintain. However, a relationship can also be something that can provide security and can also be long lasting despite many trials.

Building an effective and lasting relationships is a necessity for several reasons. For example in a group or organization, the well being of the people depends on how efficient and effective that group or organization works.

The group or organization is also dependent on how the members work well with the management.

An ineffective group or organization can really be very frustrating.  An effective group or organization can also ask so much on their members, that sometimes the members would be having no life outside the walls of the area where they work or sacrifice the other aspects of their life just to meet deadlines. For an organization or group with this kind of scenario, relationships can be stressed or suffer from breakdown.

People or other entities who depend on these groups or organization also suffer.

Society is defined as a web of relationships, which requires all parties to work and contribute their share in order to achieve  a common goal. Having a relationship that is good, where cooperation and respect are manifested, can make society work better. In this way each member works for the good of the whole and towards achieving a common goal. This can only be attained with effective and efficient relationships.

Understanding the other parties’ feeling and position creates an effective and efficient relationship. The easiest method to understand what is important to another party is to ask them what they want and listen to what they have to say. When the other party realizes this, they would feel the importance given to them

Effective and efficient relationships require parties to openly express their feelings and positions on all matters pertinent on the relationship. Assuming that the other party understands our needs and give us when we need it without asking for it is not a good practice.

Respect is the key to relationship. In order to create a more effective relationship, parties should treat each other with respect.  We can show respect just by listening to the other party and by trying sincerely to understand how they function. You can also show respect to other parties by confirming that they are doing everything they can.

The opposite of respect is quick forming of judgments based on unfounded facts and prejudice.

Respect is the very foundation for a great relationship. This also means respecting yourself and respecting others.

Another key area in forming an effective relationship is to tackle differences of the other party directly. Differences between parties or people are quite interesting. For example in a conversation where each party listens to the other party, you may observe that each is having two different perspectives.

Work towards a win-win solution for both parties.

This can be done when at least one party acknowledges that the relationship is important. That party would then exert more time, effort and energy to understand the other party’s needs and deal with it to get it out of the way. Should they fail, it is comforting for that party to know that they tried.

Effectively listening and no pre-judging. This is important if parties are to understand each other.

Informal discussions are conducive for parties. They bring out issues and concerns comfortably. They also feel more relaxed making them think more clearly.

Developing an atmosphere where the other party can express their feelings when they need to.

When parties fail to express whatever is on their mind or their feelings, it can get in the way of building an effective relationship.

Parties should be aware that certain things exist naturally but should be controlled in any dealings in any relationship.  Human nature is one. Some of these things found in a relationship also include a history of stereotyping or mistrust, blaming the other person or party for a strained relationship, excluding the other party’s feelings when focusing on a task, no clear and defined objectives, roles and expectations of each party in a relationship is also unclear.

Relationships are important to anyone, addressing issues and problems right away is a must to further improve the relationship. As they say ‘No man is an Island’.

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