WELLNESS
07/02/2015 09:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

According To Science, There's No Such Thing As Dating 'Out Of Your League'

Shutterstock / Maryna Pleshkun

Got a crush? That so-called "friend zone" may not be such a bad thing, according to new research.

A study on attraction conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University found that the longer you know someone, the more of a chance you have with them -- even if they're more attractive than you.

The study took a look at "assortative mating" -- a term used to describe the tendency for people to date and marry others who have a similar characteristic or set of characteristics -- by asking 167 couples how long they had known each other before beginning to date and whether or not they had been friends before they started dating. They also looked at independently assigned ratings of each individual's physical attractiveness.

They found that the longer a couple had known each other before dating, the more likely there was to be an attractiveness discrepancy.

"If you happen to be shooting for someone 'out of your league' (in terms of attractiveness, at least), you may be more likely to succeed if you get to know the person for a while rather than going for it immediately," said lead author Lucy L. Hunt of UT's Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. "However, it's still a gamble: Getting to know someone over time can either improve that person's impression of you or worsen it."

While this is good news for anyone who's pining after a pal with whom they don't think they have a chance, it's important to note that this is a small study -- and Hunt is looking forward to doing more research on the topic.

"I think that the findings from this study suggest that it is important to examine both relationship initiation processes and relationship maintenance processes in concert, not as two separate, non-overlapping phenomena," she told HuffPost. "I would like to explore how romantic evaluations evolve as a function of how individuals meet -- for example, through an online dating website versus in-person -- and how they become acquainted over time."

In the meantime, why not ask that guy or girl out? You probably have more of a shot than you think.

H/T The Cut


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