Seven of the Myths About Chemistry Between People

Have you ever met someone with whom you had amazing chemistry but then things eventually fell apart? There are many myths surrounding this subject. We're going to examine some of them.
Seven of the Myths About Chemistry Between People
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 01 June, 2023

When there’s chemistry between people, it consists of a magical cocktail of emotional, cognitive, and even neurological content. Oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin serve as the social-emotional glue that connects new friends and potential partners. Suddenly, you meet someone and there’s a complete understanding between you. What could be more exciting?

However, it’s possible that you might be disappointed. Indeed, sometimes, someone you thought was your soul mate turns out not to be so. In fact, without even really knowing why, you move from chemistry to friction. There are certainly some nuances that need clarifying when it comes to interpersonal chemistry. That’s not to say that chemistry doesn’t occur in many cases.

The feeling of having chemistry with someone isn’t always instantaneous. Sometimes, you need several hours or even days of deep conversations and shared anecdotes.

Interpersonal chemistry

Interpersonal chemistry exists. It defines the intense emotional connection between two people when they meet. This neurophysiological experience can be the basis of a relationship or also a good friendship. They’re situations that are often defined as possessing an almost alchemic spark. They build the kind of feeling in which everything seems just right.

It was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who first addressed this issue in a more or less scientific way in his book, Elective Affinities (1809). Although this subject always arouses great interest on a general level, from a psychological point of view it’s a somewhat neglected field in terms of studies.

In 2022, research published in the journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science provided some solid foundations for understanding the fabric that makes up interpersonal chemistry. We’re going to explore them.

Characteristics of relational chemistry

The authors of the previous work (Reis, Regan, and Lyubomirsky) emphasize that interpersonal chemistry is experienced as the sum of many sensations. It involves what’s seen, done, and felt. It’s a subtle but intense combination where the emotional, the attitudinal, and the behavioral become rewarding and representative.

  • There’s a genuine desire to get to know the other person on an in-depth level.
  • Their interests converge, as do values and vital perspectives.
  • They experience the bond as something ‘really special’.
  • For the chemistry to last, the moments of connection must accumulate.
  • The experience requires coordination. Both individuals must share the same goals and there must be mutual support.
  • Interpersonal chemistry is not built by conversations alone. In fact, there also needs to be synchrony in looks, gestures, and movements.
  • Genuine chemistry needs face-to-face interaction. An online relationship, in which two people haven’t yet met each other in person, doesn’t project a true connection.
  • Trust is the feeling that appears first. Almost immediately, the individual feels that the other person is someone they can open up to emotionally without being betrayed.
  • Genuine chemistry requires several interactions and shared moments if it’s to be meaningful and lasting. One meeting doesn’t mean the relationship will work.
  • Research conducted by the University of California (USA) claims that, in the chemistry of friendship, personality factors are important. The most open, conscientious, and pleasant-natured individuals are those who experience this sensation the most.

Genuine chemistry requires face-to-face interactions, openness on the part of both individuals, and several shared moments.

Myths about the chemistry between people

Interpersonal chemistry integrates multiple psychological, social, and even neurological dimensions. Indeed, in this process, everything from mirror neurons to the chemical explosion of neurotransmitters such as oxytocin and serotonin comes into play. It occurs due to the fact that, as humans, we need to strengthen our quality relationships. However, the topic of chemistry between people often harbors certain myths.

Building healthy relationships has an impact on our physical and psychological health, as a study published in The American Psychologist confirms. We want to highlight some of the false beliefs associated with the chemistry between people. This is the only way to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments. Here are some of those myths:

1. The chemistry between two people is immediate

Often, when meeting someone new, as soon as you can, you might send a message to a friend saying “I’ve just met someone and the chemistry between us is incredible!” But, as we mentioned earlier, chemistry isn’t always an immediate predictor of a dream relationship.

Therefore, while experiencing immediate affinity with someone is possible, true connection takes time, and several shared moments and experiences are required.

Interpersonal chemistry can also evolve over time between two people. In fact, maturity, experiences, and challenges all play a part in the construction of these socio-affective ties.

2. First impressions never fail

How many times have you let yourself be carried away by a first impression only to later find you made a complete mistake? The chemistry between people often starts from first impressions. You might assume that your perception never fails and that this sensation of absolute connection is genuine. But, beware.

Love at first sight or magical attunements in first meetings may bring disappointment. Your emotional and cognitive biases can also play tricks on you.

3. Interpersonal chemistry happens extremely rarely

Interpersonal chemistry isn’t magic or a once-in-a-lifetime mystical experience. We’re all social beings who are inexorably linked. Therefore, these types of relationships occur frequently. Moreover, personalities with more social and emotional openness will experience them to a greater degree.

4. There’s constant connection and affinity

A relationship or friendship isn’t a journey of harmony and absolute perfection. Having chemistry with someone doesn’t mean that disagreements or differences will never occur. Indeed, conflict is a recurring incidence in the world of human relations, as confirmed in a study conducted by the Dalian University of Technology (China). The key lie in knowing how to handle these situations.

Interpersonal chemistry is subjective and not everyone experiences it in the same way.

5. Chemistry always starts from physical attraction and sexuality

One of the most common myths related to personal chemistry concerns the idea that the experience is basically sexual. Many assume that this harmony and affinity stems from mechanisms of physical attraction. But, this isn’t true.

In fact, friendship is also built from psychobiological algorithms in which trust, correspondence, and the conjunction of tastes and values build good interpersonal chemistry.

6. It’s reciprocal: both people feel it at the same time

This idea is also not true. Sometimes, chemistry is one way and only one party experiences it. This is more frequent among those who use dating apps. After their first meeting, they return home thinking that the harmony between them is absolute. Yet, the other person doesn’t contact them again and vanishes via the process of ghosting. This is a sad but recurrent reality.

7. Interpersonal chemistry is enough to overcome all problems

Naturally, you’d love for the chemistry between you to be indestructible, a formula capable of guaranteeing that, together, you’ll be able to face any challenge, big or small. But, nothing can ensure that a particular friendship or relationship will be the ideal kind that can address any problem, either in the short or long term.

As a matter of fact, healthy bonds need many variables to work. So, simple chemistry isn’t enough. Good communication, respect, reciprocity, mutual care, etc. are also needed.

You might be interested to read The Role of Physical Attraction

Promoting feelings of chemistry

Finally, few areas are more fascinating than the field of human bonding and the construction of ties that can potentially offer so much happiness. But, while the chemistry between people is real, it also needs to be promoted.

An open attitude and being able to trust others will allow you to enjoy many experiences of this type. It’s worth giving it a try.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.