Sometimes I have had crushes on people, and then all kinds of miscellaneous characteristics they had seemed good. Not just their face or their sense of style or the exact way they pronounce my name. But also things that would usually be considered unattractive. For instance, if they are balding, I might suddenly find myself excited by sparse head stubble, when I had previously liked luxuriant hair. And then subsequently I would be more attracted to every other balding guy I met.
I think this is not just directly because the person having those characteristics makes the characteristics by association the most excellent characteristics a person could have. Though that is maybe part of it (your face reminds me of…you!)
I think it is also because I implicitly infer that the person in question likes those characteristics, and I expect people to like me more if I like the things they like. For instance, if they are grumpy and have crumpled clothes, I think I implicitly infer that they like people being grumpy and wearing crumpled clothes, and that if I favor those things too, it will help us be friends. And I can appreciate a pretty wide range of things, so I implicitly give attention to the ones that are helpful.
So I suppose that I must implicitly believe everyone likes almost all of their characteristics. Explicitly, I think this is unlikely to be true. Though I do expect people relate more to people who share their characteristics, whether or not they like the characteristics. So maybe that is what I’m implicitly going for.
All this leads me to think that that my brain is probably doing a milder version of the thing it does with crushes with respect to other people who I like in less extreme ways all the time. “Ooh—I guess you like being mildly irritated! I can do that too! Grr. Do you like me?” It is just only so strong as to be introspectively perceptible in the case of crushes. Which I guess matches the observation that people copy each other a lot.
I have long had the abstract impression that I should choose who I spend much time with carefully because company makes an alarmingly large difference to one’s own behavior. But the way that my brain updates on crushes makes that concern feel more viscerally real to me. Happily (not coincidentally) current company seems pretty good. Though unusual, so probably I don’t give things like religiosity and being athletic proper thought. These concerns are is not news, but a new angle from which to feel like it is actually a real problem and not just one of those problems that it would be virtuous to be troubled by.