I recently had a fascinating conversation with my friend about what it means to be in love. I told her that when you meet your soul mate, you feel like you’re seeing the best version of yourself, and all is right with the world.
She was baffled by this idea, but then she mentioned that she’d once met someone she thought was her soul mate, but he mistreated her.
I asked if she would tell me more about him. “He was an asshole,” she said. “It’s not how I want to be treated.”
What Is Love?
Before we get into what makes us feel good when we first meet our soul mates, let’s start with the most basic definition of love.
“Love is a feeling,” says Dr. Brian D. Clark, a psychologist from Florida State University. “There are many different types of feelings, including anger, sadness, joy, happiness, etc.”
Clark explains two ways people experience these feelings. The first way is called experiential love. This type of love involves experiencing emotions through personal interactions.
For example, when you fall in love with someone, you experience joy because they make you happy. Similarly, when you’re angry at someone, you feel sad because your partner has caused you pain. Experiential love is the expectation that you will continue to have positive feelings toward your partner.
Emotional or sentimental love is the other kind of love. Emotional love can occur when you see your partner on television, read their Facebook page, or even watch them on YouTube. It doesn’t matter who or where they are, as long as you think they’re cute or funny.
Emotional love doesn’t require personal interaction between you and your partner. So, while you might think you need to meet your soul mate face to face before you fall in love, it’s possible to fall in love without ever meeting them.
“When I hear people talk about falling out of love, they usually mean breaking up with someone they’ve been dating for several years,” says Clark.
So, even though you might believe that you need to meet your soul mate in person before you can fall in love, you probably don’t. You’ll probably fall head over heels if you find them attractive.
The Best Version of Yourself
When you first meet your soul mate, focus on their physical appearance, personality traits, and quirks. However, after spending enough time with them, you begin to see their flaws and appreciate their strengths.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, the longer you spend together, the better you evaluate your partner’s character. In other words, you grow to appreciate their unique qualities.
“You may not always agree with them, but you come to realize that those things about them that annoy you aren’t important, and they’re pretty great,” says Clark.
If you’re lucky, you’ll develop strong feelings toward your partner, resulting in romantic love.
Romantic love isn’t just about being physically attracted to your partner. It’s also about developing deep feelings of warmth, friendship, and affection. According to Clark, these feelings take at least six months to form, although some relationships last longer than others.
Interestingly, Clark thinks romantic love is difficult to achieve because humans are programmed to search for their ideal partner. We’re hardwired to expect someone special to show up in our lives. However, since we only have one life, it’s better to settle for a partner who makes us happy than to search for the perfect one.
Soul Mates Are Rarely Easy To Find
Since humans are naturally drawn to their ideal partners, it’s unlikely that you’ll meet your soul mate in your lifetime. That said, you might still have a chance at finding true love if you take the following steps:
- Take a look at your current relationship. If you’re single, chances are you’ll never find true love unless you create the conditions for it.
- Identify your values. What do you value most in a partner? How does your partner fit into your life? Does your partner make you happy?
- Determine whether you want to be alone or with another person. Think about how much you enjoy spending time with your friends and family. If you prefer spending time with strangers, you might want to reconsider your decision to date.
- Think about your goals. What do you want to accomplish in your life? Do you want to travel the world? Learn to play guitar? Start a business?
- Find a group of people who share similar interests. If you’re interested in running, join a local running club. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, go to a coffee shop daily. These activities will help you meet new people who share your passions.
- Be open to meeting new people. Don’t limit yourself to online dating websites. Instead, try joining social groups, concerts, or church events. Going to a bar or nightclub won’t work, as you’ll likely become drunk.
- Don’t give up hope. Even if you meet dozens of potential soul mates, it doesn’t mean you’ll find your perfect match. Just because you don’t meet your soul mate today doesn’t mean you won’t get it in the future.
Meaningful Conversation With Strangers Isn’t Commonplace Anymore
Today, we’re too busy to spend time talking to strangers. Unfortunately, this lack of meaningful conversations could lead to loneliness, depression, and other mental health issues. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid becoming isolated and lonely.
One easy solution is to start a conversation with a stranger. Here are three simple steps you should follow to start a conversation with anyone:
- Put down your phone. Seriously, put it away. Say hi to your neighbor, co-worker, or waiter is okay. You don’t need to text your mom or call your dad during dinner.
- Smile. Smile at everyone you see. Smiling is contagious, so smiling at strangers can help break down barriers between people.
- Ask questions. Ask your waiter how his day went or your co-worker about their job. People love talking about themselves, and asking questions helps you learn more about them.
As you can see, starting meaningful conversations with strangers isn’t as difficult as you think. All it takes is patience and a willingness to smile!
Have you ever fallen in love with someone you didn’t know? Have you ever talked to a stranger? Could you share your thoughts with us below?