Its true, your nose really does know!

New research (Ravreby et al. (2022) reveals that our olfactory sense plays a role in the “lightning fast” instant connection we might experience with a new friend. Much as our animal friends use their sense of smell to determine if another four-legged creature is friend or foe, our olfactory sense is subtly picking up the same kind of clue from other humans. Ravreby and colleagues found that the body odours of “instant click” friends were remarkably similar. They conducted four experiments and found that strangers were able to pick up on the similarity between the body scents of “instant click” pairs. Whether it’s because someone’s scent reminds you of someone you knew before or reminds you of a time in your life or place in your life you felt safe or loved, the people with whom we click from the start are those we connect with on a deeper, unconscious level – the primal level of scent.

While animals are able to use their sense of smell as an intentional method of assessing another animal, humans aren’t typically aware of the role that scent plays in our social connections – unless someone’s body odour is strong enough or offensive enough to be a turn-off. However, our brains are picking up such olfactory cues before they have a chance to “sync up” with the potential new friend.