Good News – People Probably Like You More Than You Think They Do

There’s plenty of research to back this up.

In general, our conversation partners aren’t nearly as critical as we might expect. Even better news: they tend to like us and enjoy our company much more than we think they do. Researchers call this discrepancy in perspectives—what you think someone thought of you versus what they actually thought of you—the liking gap. It’s one key reason why social interactions can be a source of stress and worry, even after they’re over. We simply underestimate just how much people actually enjoy our company.

The bad news, however, might be that almost everyone does this. So instead of connecting with each other, we are each stressing over all the things we may have done wrong when we interacted, which isn’t great. That makes it harder to connect with others, which has many adverse effects on our mental health.

Maybe we can just cut ourselves some slack and understand that, generally, people like us more than we assume and act on that reality instead of assuming they don’t like us. I’ve been down that road too many times in my own life, and it’s not a pretty trip. The article above also notes that it can negatively affect personal relationships and work. When we think our coworkers don’t like us, we are less likely to ask for help or speak up. This extra layer of stress is destructive and unnecessary. Let’s do our best to eliminate it for ourselves and others.

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