Wednesday, February 09, 2011
As other research has found, women who believed the men liked them a lot were more attracted to the men than women who thought the men liked them only an average amount. However, the women who found the men most attractive were the ones who weren't sure whether those men were into them or not.This phenomenon is so well-known that Reynolds jokingly calls this study result, "shocking," and the few comments on the post so far include other emotional reactions to familiarity that range from whining to the equivalent of eye rolling. And, of course they bring up other tropes about dating. One such comment touches on a related matter: How many men and women gauge solid interest later on in the game.
"Numerous popular books advise people not to display their affections too openly to a potential romantic partner and to instead appear choosy and selective," the authors write. Women in this study made their decisions based on very little information on the men -- but in a situation not unlike meeting someone on an internet dating site, which is common these days. "When people first meet, it may be that popular dating advice is correct: Keeping people in the dark about how much we like them will increase how much they think about us and will pique their interest."
I've noticed that women will fall all over you until you tell them you love them, then they act like you are their property, and no longer worry about doing things you may hate, and start becoming more critical and demanding.. They constantly criticise men for never expressing their feelings. But once a man does, they lose.If we set aside the cynicism and consider these measures briefly, I think we can better understand the result/stereotype above, and see that it actually also applies to men, as advice I've heard for women to be "mysterious" suggests.
Of course men do a similar thing with women, but in their case it is having sex for the first time, rather than hearing the I love you words. They will do anything for the gal before having sex, but are much less attentive after. [minor edits]
What would it say about a total stranger if he said, "I love you," out of the blue -- or she wanted to sleep with you for no apparent reason? You'd rightly wonder why, and such behavior would almost always remove such a person from serious consideration as a romantic partner. Why? Because this person knows basically nothing about you: One can not value or care about a cypher. Something else is going on.
Now, moving on from extreme cases, we can, I think, better understand these results. Finding a partner is a journey of self-discovery. It has to be if one is looking for another self. Assuming good self-knowledge on the parts of the subjects, the other extreme cases -- of men whom they were told liked them or not -- make perfect sense. The women liked the interested men better. But what about the the ambiguous cases? The story suggests part of the answer:
"But what if Sarah is not sure how much Bob likes her?" This might lead Sarah to spend a lot of time thinking about Bob, wondering how he feels, and she might find him more attractive the more she dwells on him.Yes, Bob gets more "face time" with her mind's eye, but why, from Sarah's perspective, might this be? I think it stems from the nature of getting to know another person. Whether you are a ruggedly handsome, tall, and wealthy man; or a beautiful and accomplished woman; an over-aggressive suitor would cause you to wonder whether there was anything "real" going on at all. (And this would actually be much more the case if you weren't generally regarded as attractive for some reason.)
In normal circumstances, one falls in love gradually because it takes time to learn about another person. So, in this study, I think that the ambiguous cases pique the most interest because this "type" most closely resembles what one might usually encounter. Conversely, non-committal types, "bad boys," and girls playing "hard-to-get" thus end up mimicking this type of exploration, and enjoying a huge advantage on the dating scene, at least in terms of getting a foot in the door. In that sense, such people look like they are being more deliberate, and that they are moving past a superficial level of interest. As well, inexperienced suitors often "blow it" just as they are close to gaining someone's interest, by looking desperate or insincere.
I think my courtship with Mrs. Van Horn is an exception to the stereotype that illustrates why there is a stereotype. We both knew each other, having been introduced by a mutual friend. We were "movie buddies," and at some point, I clumsily made it clear to her that I was interested in her. She wasn't, then. I told her that was fine, but that if it ever changed, it would be up to her to let me know. I wrote her off romantically, but would go out with her from time to time. She eventually wised up, showing wrong all the cynical stereotypes that arise from the simple fact it takes time to know another person, and so to be able to love another person.