# Why do salts form ions?

For example, sodium chloride is formed because a chlorine atom "takes" one electron from a sodium atom, thus forming a sodium+ and a chlorine- ion which stick together because of their different charge. But how can this separated charge state be of lower energy than each atom being uncharged?

I do not understand why this charge transfer hppens, since each uncharged atom "looks" electrically neutral because the electrons surround the nucleus.