According to the “mere-exposure effect,” people tend to like things that are familiar to them.
Knowledge of this phenomenon dates back to the 1950s, when MIT researchers discovered that college students who lived closer together in housing projects were more likely to be friends than students who lived farther apart.
This could be because students who live close by can experience more passive, day-to-day interactions with each other, such as greeting each other in the common room or kitchen. Under certain circumstances, those interactions can develop into full-fledged friendships.
Psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh had four women pose as students in a university psychology class. Each woman showed up to class a different number of times. When experimenters showed male students pictures of the four women, the men demonstrated a greater affinity for the women they’d seen more often in class — even though they hadn’t interacted with any of them.
Taken together, these findings suggest that simply spending more time with people can make them like you more. Even if you don’t live near your friends, try sticking to a steady routine with them, such as going out for coffee every week or taking a class together.