When I read the community boards, I see a lot of great advice given by members. Many of you know just what to do in a shady situation, how to figure out a relationship quandary, and decipher ambiguity from a date (some also stress that their instinctual “truths” are better than scientifically tested outcomes but that’s a blog for another day). You are wise.
But do you follow your own advice? Knowing the right thing to do in relationships and actually choosing to do it are not always tied together. A recent study had participants reading choose your own adventure-type dating scenarios and to pick either a relationship-enhancing or a relationship-worsening outcome.
Here is an example of a hypothetical vignette referencing support:
(a) Discuss this with your partner to get it off your chest
(b) Not mention the incident; it might ruin the night
Participants were asked to either choose which option was better through each vignette, or play the reading game by indicating which option they would choose. The results highlighted what many of us have to begrudgingly admit: we often know what to do in a relationship and do something different when it’s us in the scenario. It’s akin to snoozing instead of exercising, eating fries instead of the salad, or “forgetting” to call your mom back. Thinking your “life experience” might help you? Not so fast: individuals who were high in relationship knowledge were the best at knowing what to do, but that didn’t help them choose the better option. By the way, the answer to the above was ‘A.’
So what gives? What makes us better spectators at relationships than participants? Read why, here.