Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Guess I Am Smart After All

Based on this study, it’s a wonder anyone has friends in this world. I was protecting myself by not pursuing friendships for awhile there. Then I go into therapy and I am encouraged to look past the “fatal flaw” – you know, in order to be the best version of myself that I can be. Then I get burned right away by two people. I’d rather be a slightly less than the best version of myself if it means I’m not getting screwed over on a regular basis.

Here are my favorite parts of the article (basically, the entire article):

“Given how irritating other people sometimes are, it's surprising how many of us are eternal optimists about forming new relationships.”

“Once we perceive a dissimilarity [aka the fatal flaw], it’s all downhill from there. Even traits we might have liked, or been neutral about before, now get the thumbs down.”

“It gets worse. In a fourth study using a similar approach to those above the researchers found that our dislike for others cascades. This means that if we see a dissimilar (and therefore unlikable) trait early on in our relationship with another, this tends to negatively affect the way we perceive the rest of their traits. So, once we perceive a dissimilarity, it's all downhill from there. Even traits we might have liked, or been neutral about before, now get the thumbs down.”

“Considering the results of this study it's a wonder we bother trying to make friends after the first few disappointments. The fact that we do is probably a result of an unrealistic level of optimism about how much we will expect to like others. This is confirmed by the study's finding that the vast majority of people expect that more knowledge about others will lead to liking.”

“And occasionally we do actually meet people who turn out to be similar to us, who end up as our close friends or even partners. It's these relationship hits that we tend to remember when meeting someone new rather than all the times we were disappointed.”

I guess I can thank my perpetually pessimistic way of thinking for saving me from remembering the good friends and instead focusing on the bad “friends.” This article is more proof to myself that I am a smart person, since apparently most people are unaware and have a blind level of optimism when meeting new people.

Hooray for me?


Kelvin Kao said...

So, meeting someone you actually like for a long time is very rare, much like winning the lottery. But lots of people still buy lottery tickets hoping to win big, no? Maybe that's what people are searching for.