The Mistake We All Make When Interpreting Other People’s Actions

Properly Interpreting People’s ActionsTell me if this sounds familiar.

You’re excited to see your guy. He walks in the door, gives you a quick peck on the cheek, and…

…hardly notices the fact that you’re absolutely beaming at the sight of him.

Immediately, you’re wondering what gives. Does he not like the new outfit? Geez, you were sure he’d be a fan. Or is he just being a jerk? I mean, how hard is it to give you an enthusiastic greeting?

But what if his lack of excitement has nothing to do with you?

I’m talking about a phenomenon called “Fundamental Attribution Error.” Fundamental Attribution Error is defined as our “tendency to give personality-based explanations for other peoples’ behavior more weight than situational factors.”

In other words, we tend to assume the way people treat us is a reflection of how they feel about us. But much of the time, that assumption is dead wrong.

In the example above, maybe your guy seems distracted because he’s distracted. After all, there’s a lot of other stuff going on in his life.

That doesn’t mean you’re not important to him. It just means you’re not always the center of his universe.

And even though that makes perfect sense, Fundamental Attribution Error is incredibly common. Practically everyone does it. Not only that, but it’s almost impossible to avoid.

So how do you deal with those moments when Fundamental Attribution Error kicks in?

You can outwit your own knee-jerk assumptions by doing just two things.

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When It’s Time for a Romantic Upgrade

When It’s Time for a Romantic UpgradeI don’t know about you, but the last month before I upgrade my phone is painful. By then, my old phone feels outdated and sluggish.

It doesn’t have enough storage, can’t really handle the apps I use daily, and, maybe worst of all, it’s just not exciting anymore. More than once, I’ve thought it would be really convenient if I happened to drop it in a lake or run over it with my car…just so I can go ahead and get a new one NOW.

I’m not the only one.

According to a recent study, people tend to embrace more reckless behavior with their phones when they’re looking for an excuse to buy the latest model.[i]

You won’t even risk putting a small scratch on your new phone. But your old phone? Eh, you’ll toss it across the pool so a friend can take your picture. Why not?

Which makes me think of something else. Sometimes we do the same thing with relationships.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this. You’re dating someone, things have gone from good, to stale, to not-that-great. But you’re not quite ready to break up.

So maybe you pick a fight or two. Maybe you’re not as supportive as you’d be otherwise. Maybe you get a little careless with the relationship itself because you’re ready for an upgrade.

While this behavior makes perfect sense, it’s not the best way to handle a dying relationship. It just makes the worst part of dating last longer.

If your relationship is in that not-so-great place, there’s a better way. First, you have to answer a critical question (that I’m about to show you). Then, based on your answer, you should take one of two actions.

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How to Argue with Your Man—and Feel Better Afterward

How to Argue with Your Man—and Feel Better AfterwardIf you’re on Facebook (or any other social media site), you’ve probably seen people fight online. Someone lobs an opinion out there like a grenade, and then KA-BLAM!

The ensuing “discussion” is rarely an open exchange of maturely cultivated points of view. But there’s a simple formula for turning conflict into a constructive conversation.

The problem with conflict, online or offline, is this: we think the goal is to win.

And this probably isn’t breaking news to you, but you can’t “win” an argument with someone you care about.

It feels like you can in the moment, but you can’t. That’s because even if you come out on top, you’ll end up disconnected from your opponent.

That doesn’t exactly create a romantic vibe.

Wouldn’t it be better to fight in a way that actually strengthens your relationship? What if you could throw down with your man…and come out the other side of the conflict even closer than you were before?

Fighting CAN be productive. It’s all about how you approach it.

Attorney Sean Jones has three suggestions for making fights fair and beneficial.[i] While his suggestions are specific to online fights, you can also use these tips in your relationship.

If you do, fights with your man will morph into something that makes you stronger as a couple.

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The Simple Mind Hack that Can Change the Way You Date

The Simple Mind Hack that Can Change the Way You DateHow do you feel about dating?

Depending on when you’re asked that question, your answer might change dramatically. That’s because dating is a mix of wildly different experiences.

Sometimes it’s fun, like a first kiss. Sometimes it’s intense, like the first real fight. Sometimes it’s lighthearted and carefree. And sometimes it’s nerve racking and exhausting.

Dating is all of those things and more because dating is an EMOTIONAL experience.

Which is good! One of the things that makes romance so fulfilling is the impact it has on our emotions. But there’s a downside.

When emotions run high, it’s much harder to make smart choices. Just think about the last time you were really angry. Were you at the top of your game, 100% rational?

Nope, probably not. That’s okay. Me, neither.

Any emotion, from anger to exhilaration, can muddy the waters. When that happens, a lot of people, both men and women, find themselves making poor decisions.

But there’s a way to surf the emotional wave AND make good choices. It’s a simple mind hack that’s been proven to have several positive effects on decision making.[i]

All you have to do is create what’s known as “psychological distance.” Psychological distance means creating distance from yourself within your mind.

There are a couple of easy ways to do that. You can imagine yourself as a completely different person. For example, instead of an American professional woman, you could imagine that you’re a sheep herder in another part of the world.

Another way is to imagine yourself far off in the future. Like, decades from now.

Either technique will give you some mental breathing room and allow you to see your present life and relationship very differently. As a result, you’ll have a clearer picture of your options.

Below are three times you can use this simple-yet-powerful strategy.

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