In school, it was helpful to give the impression you knew a bit more than you really did. The same thing is true for adults in the workplace. After all, no one wants to draw attention by admitting they have no idea what that acronym stands for when everyone else is nodding like they get the manager’s point.
Projecting confidence in a school or at the office is a smart move, but when we carry that over to our relationships, bad things can happen. Here’s how.
One of the keys to a healthy relationship is deep understanding. The better you understand yourself and your partner, the easier it is to sidestep problems and cultivate intimacy. But you can’t grow in understanding if you aren’t willing to admit there are things you don’t know.
It’s an annoyingly helpless feeling. You sent him a text message, and now you’re waiting for the reply. Minutes tick by. Then half an hour. An hour, and still you’re waiting.
The longer you have to wait, the more anxious you feel. Is he snubbing you? Did he take your last message the wrong way? Is he losing interest? What does it mean?
The truth is, most of the time it doesn’t mean anything.
There’s this great video called “I Forgot My Phone.” It depicts a young woman in all kinds of social situations. The other people she’s with, her friends and even her boyfriend, are constantly on their phones. She stands out because she’s the only one who doesn’t have an electronic device in hand. She’s more focused on the things going on around her than updating her social networks.
What about you? Are you one of those people who treats your smartphone like an appendage? If so, I can understand why it would freak you out when he doesn’t reply quickly. Your phone is always with you. If you don’t reply immediately, there’s a reason.
But I want you to consider two things.
Should you gamble on your relationship?
Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky discovered something fascinating about how we deal with risk.
A professor at Princeton, Kahneman is known for offering students in his class a simple gamble: a coin toss. If it lands on tails, the student loses $10. He then asks how much the student would have to win if it lands on heads for the gamble to be worth the risk.
Consistently, students want a minimum of $20 for a win before they’ll take him on. In other words, they want twice as much reward before they are willing to risk a potential loss.
Most of us are like that. We’re so committed to avoiding a loss that we’ll say “no thank you” to potential gains unless the odds are stacked overwhelmingly in our favor. The technical name for this is “aversion to loss.” Economists and psychologists alike use this theory to explain a lot of the choices we make.
When it makes its way into your relationship, this same dynamic can hold you back. Here’s how.
As a relationship coach, I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what creates romance. Romantic gestures come in all shapes and sizes. Little things like a bouquet of flowers, and big things like a surprise proposal. But almost every romantic gesture I can think of has one thing in common.
Spontaneity is what keeps the romance going strong. The question is how do you maintain spontaneity in your relationship? I’d like to suggest two things.
First, make it a point to do unexpected things for him. Guys don’t typically get excited about flowers and chocolates, so you may have to get creative here. Cook his favorite meal or take him to his favorite restaurant for dinner. Take him to watch the action flick you know he’s dying to see. If he’s a sports fan, tickets to see his favorite team are always a good call.