Do you ever find yourself worrying whether or not other people like you? Most people feel this way sometimes. What if you were to learn that people like you more than you think? According to a new research paper published recently in Psychological Science, this might just be the case.
How Much Do People Like You?
Several studies regarding what conversational partners think of one another were conducted by Erica Boothby of Cornell University and her colleagues Gus Cooney of Harvard University, Gilliam Sandstrom of University of Essex, and Margaret Clark of Yale University.
During the studies, they found a cognitive illusion that they refer to as “the liking gap”. This refers to our inability to understand how much strangers enjoy our company.
How Were The Studies Conducted?
The studies involved the observation of strangers meeting and interacting in various situations. Such situations included college freshmen getting to know their classmates throughout the school year, strangers interacting in research laboratories, and community members interacting with other people in personal development workshops.
Regardless of the scenario, people continuously underestimated how much they were liked by others. This was true regardless of how long the people interacted, whether the conversations were 2 minutes long or 45 minutes long, and regardless of whether or not individuals became friends with the people with whom they were interacting.
Why Does This Happen?
The studies offered a possible reason for this phenomenon. This possible reason is that we tend to be harsher on ourselves than others. Unaware of how much other people genuinely like us, we rely on our own perspectives, which are not accurate because our interpretations of ourselves tend to be less positive than reality.
The study authors noted that interacting with other people is a wonderful source of joy, but can be even more rejuvenating if only we realized how much other people really do enjoy our company.