What’s a quick way to improve our relationships and make them more enjoyable?

Put a little effort into presenting your best self.

Psyblog has a wonderful post that encourages us to be more social because research shows we enjoy talking to new people a lot more than we might think.

Why is this? It turns out we enjoy talking to people more when we make a real effort in terms of our self-presentation and talking to new people requires more work than talking with partners or old friends.

What’s really interesting is we can use this principle to improve our any relationship:

What the researchers found was that it comes down to whether or not you’re making an effort. Sometimes when we talk to our friends and partners we don’t make much of an effort to entertain them, show off or to present ourselves in the best light. But we do tend to make more of an effort with strangers.

In a follow-up study the researchers told participants to make an effort with their partners and then their enjoyment of the social interaction improved in line with their predictions. This suggests we can all have more fun with our partners and friends if we make an effort.

This is in line with other research I’ve posted in the past. We show ourselves most accurately when we try to present our best selves.

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About Eric Barker