Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap”

Have you ever felt that some people seem effortlessly likable while you have to work twice as hard to make a good impression? New research from academic scholars Boothby, Cooney, Sandstrom, and Clark on the “liking gap” suggests that certain traits like confidence, emotional intelligence, and charisma can ignite positive first impressions and easy rapport. As the authors explain, this may elucidate why we click instantly with some people but never quite get there with others.

So, what exactly is the “liking gap”? According to academic research introduced in 2018, it’s “the difference between our perceived likeability and how much people actually enjoy our company”.

Of course, subjective preferences always play a role. The studies show that some personalities can build likeability and relationships with less effort. This leaves others feeling they’ve lost the social lottery (or is that just me?)

But there’s good news – it can be overcome! We might just be rubbish at liking ourselves, when in reality, we’re perfectly likeable.

The Liking Gap paper shows that most people underestimate how likeable they are, leading to interesting hypotheses around self-awareness, self-criticism, and everyone’s thief of joy – comparison. Throw in social media, imposter syndrome, and that colleague or influencer living their best life, and is it any wonder that comparison is our closest and constant companion?

US writer Randi Donahue unpacks the “mental load” – the invisible cognitive and emotional labour spent managing life, family, and responsibilities. Now throw this whirling to-do list into an already crowded mind space where we’re second-guessing our every move and how likeable we are! What hefty baggage we carry thanks to this!

But with intentionality, better communication, and self-awareness, we can ease our mental workload. Some tips and tricks that worked for Donahue include:

  • Making thought piles – thoughts on notecards – categorised into “keep it, lose it, or delegate it”.
  • Journalling
  • List-making
  • Self-care

It seems – as often is the case – we are our own worst enemy. Perhaps it’s worth noting a simple line from a classic 2001 rom-com, in which one of the lead characters, Mark Darcy, tells Bridget Jones: “I like you just the way you are.”

So, let’s like ourselves – just the way we are.

Mindful Musings

Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap” 1

What the world was musing over this past week

Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap” 2

Everything you didn’t know about leap years

Why do we have leap years? When were they created? Why do women propose to men on leap days? What’s it like to have a 29 February birthday?

Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap” 3

Mad for rabbits

A Welshman has proved his love for his favourite animal by getting a record-breaking 69 different tattoos of rabbits on his body.

Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap” 4

More leap year silliness

Did you know there’s a French newspaper that only publishes on 29 February? It’s filled with cringe-worthy puns and satirical commentary on the past four years.

Monday Musings 4 March: Mind the “liking gap” 5

Trotting through traffic

Now this is how to beat a traffic jam! A pair of police horses caused a highway hazard in Ohio when they “inadvertently strayed” during “routine care and exercise”. No horses were harmed.