If you, like many of us, worry that you just aren’t making a good first impression - some new research may have you sighing in relief. Apparently, it is very common to come out of meetings with people feeling as though they didn’t like you or you said the wrong things. According to a new study, we are usually better liked and more eloquent than we think.
Today reports about a new Harvard University study that looks at how we perceive interactions with new friends and strangers and in turn how we are perceived by the other party. Researcher and one of the authors of the study, Gus Cooney, knows firsthand how it feels after having a conversation with someone new. Cooney says, “I could never shake the idea that the other person doesn’t like me or didn’t enjoy the conversation. Is it me or does it happen to everybody else?”
Turns out, it’s not just Cooney. After a five minute one-on-one ice breaker between participants in the study, most people thought their partner liked them less than they actually did. And after a longer 45 minute conversation, the majority of participants felt they were perceived as “unlikable” by the person they spoke with. Cooney explains, “We have this unique perspective of our own faults and once we think of them and they are in our heads, we project it onto others.”
And if you’ve known someone for months and still have this lingering feeling that they just don’t like you, chances are - you’re wrong. Researchers found that the effects of this type of negative perception often go on for an entire year. They looked at the way freshman dorm mates interacted and found that even after months of living together, they underestimated how much they were liked by their housemate.
Researchers hope the new study will reveal that we all may have insecurities that can lead to feeling unlikeable when meeting new people. It can be helpful to question whether or not your negative thoughts are accurate or just the result of overthinking and feeling insecure. Cooney says, “Conversations with new people are just some of the most difficult conversations we have,” he said. “We should be aware that that voice in our heads will not be so accurate and that people might like us more than we think.”
What do you think of this new study suggesting we may be more likeable than we think?
Are you guilty of misjudging how you are perceived among new friends or strangers?