Finding someone attractive is a physical sensation, unlike being attracted to someone which encompasses a combination of a physical and intimate sensation.
You could be walking on the street and walk past a guy you thought was attractive.
He had a strong, chiseled chin and lovely ocean blue eyes.
It was a momentary thought, you have since moved on to thinking about what you are having for lunch.
This was an instance where you found someone attractive, but it wasn’t intimate.
It was a fleeting moment that was quickly replaced with more pressing topics in your mind.
Being attracted to someone is a different story.
This time, not only did you walk past that attractive guy on the street, the effect stayed with you.
You didn’t immediately move on to thinking about what you were having for lunch.
You are still thinking about the guy.
Your mind is replaying that moment that you were about to walk past him over and over again, like a film reel.
You can’t get him out of your head.
Soon, you are comparing him to other moments in your life where you have had this feeling.
The last boyfriend you had for instance.
How he gave you butterflies and took your breath away.
Now you are wondering whether that stranger that you walked past has similar personality traits to an ex-boyfriend that you had a good relationship with.
Is he charming?
Your mind is on a tangent now, even as you try to redirect it to what you are having for lunch.
Curious, you look back, wondering if this stranger is looking back at you.
Where is he?
In the myriad of people that are milling about, your eyes are primarily concerned with one outcome, locating him.
Where did he go?
Did he walk into a nearby store?
Should I go after him?
So preoccupied with locating him, you are ignoring the friend that is calling you as your phone buzzes.
Finally, you answer the call.
It doesn’t take long before you are telling her about the attractive guy you just walked past on the street.
You are describing how he looked to your friend, telling her that he reminded you of an ex-boyfriend that you dated in the past.
You don’t realize it, but several minutes have gone by and you can’t stop talking about this stranger to your friend.
Finally, the phone conversation ends, much in part because your friend has stuff to do and doesn’t want to spend more of her precious time listening to you go on and on about this stranger.
As you go on with your day, this guy is never far from your thoughts.
When you are done with your day and arrive home, you get on social media to see what your ex is up to.
Thinking about this guy throughout the day has triggered a curiosity factor, being that he reminded you of your ex, from his looks to how he walked.
You don’t want to go down a rabbit hole filled with bittersweet memories of you and your ex, so you force yourself to stop looking at his posts after a while.
The next day, you walk on that same street like you do most days, but something has changed.
Instead of being lost in your own thoughts, you are hyper-aware of your surroundings.
Subconsciously, you are looking out for that stranger, hoping that history repeats itself and you walk past him again.
Being attracted to someone is as physical as it is intimate.
That is the difference.