The Subconscious Quirk That Makes You More Attracted To People With A Similar Name

And it's not just your love life that is affected.

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Have you ever noticed that you tend to gravitate toward certain people who have the same or similar name?

You may have attributed it to coincidence or personal preference. But there are actual psychological reasons people prefer others who have a name like their own.

And, as you may suspect, it is all about how we view ourselves.

People are more likely to be attracted to someone with a similar name.

In 1985, Belgian psychologist Jozef Nuttin identified what is known as the name-letter effect. His studies determined that people showed a preference for those whose name contained some of the same letters as theirs.


TikToker Ryan McNeill posted a video detailing the influence of the name-letter effect.

He shares that people generally have more positive feelings toward people and places with names similar to their own.

But it's not just who you are attracted to that is affected by your name. In fact, the name-letter effect can also influence other aspects of your life.



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Your buying habits are closely linked to the letters in your name.

When it comes to shopping and loyalty to brands, we experience a similar effect and are more likely to purchase from places with names we subconsciously associate with our own names.

When it comes to relationships and love, we are also most likely to wed someone whose name shares some of same letters as yours. This is especially true if you have the same initials.

McNeill explains, “If I have positive associations about myself, I’m going to have positive associations about things I associate with myself.”

The same results have been mimicked across countries and age groups. However, the same social psychology doesn’t apply when it comes to food and animals.


A 2005 study by Canadian psychologists Gordon Hodson and James Olsen found that people didn’t see what they ate or their pets as extensions of themselves.

The difference is that people have a choice in the products they buy and use them to communicate who they are to the world. These brands are attached to each buyer’s implicit self-esteem.

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People also choose where they live and work based on their names.

In 2002, psychologists Brett W. Pelham, Matthew C. Mirenberg, and John T. Jones (referred to as Pelham, Mirenberg, and Jones) wrote a book entitled “Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Implicit Egotism and Major Life Decisions.”


Their work further showed the positive associations people make about themselves that extend to what they buy and who they socialize with.

The three psychologists conducted 10 studies related to two big choices people make in life: where to live and what to do for a living.

This first five studies showed that most people lived in places that resembled their first names, such as a man named Louis who lived in St. Louis.

Interestingly, the sixth study results showed that people preferred cities containing the number associated with their birthdays. For example, Sixes, Oregon, for those born in June.

The last four study results suggested that people chose careers whose titles closely resembled their names, such as Dennis the Dentist.


Some believe that how you perform also depends on your name.

Two other psychologists, Leif D. Nelson and Joseph P. Simmons, performed a controversial study that found that negative performance was closely associated with names.

For example, students whose initial was "A" received those grades routinely, whereas those whose names fell lower in the alphabet realized poorer performance.

It also seemed that students whose names began with a "C" or "D" ended up attending lower ranked educational institutions than those with "A" or "B" initials.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle, entertainment and news, and self-focused content, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.