Ayoub Khote explains new findings that show people remember the bad better than the good – and why that matters in dating.
Evidence shows that we remember bad things more readily than good things. We’ll likely remember more about a person who approaches us aggressively than a person who holds the door open for us as we walk through, mumbling thanks, while we type furiously on a smart device.
People want their first impressions to be memorable, but the problem is that not all memorable events are good ones. It’s easier to be aggressive in your approach and leave a bad memory than it is to leave a good memory.
This is one of the things that makes it difficult to approach someone with romantic intent: If you’re too aggressive, you’ll be hated, and if you’re too polite, you’re forgotten.
Men are the traditional initiators, and are historically the ones whose advances are declined, but women who initiate are also often rebuffed.
Men are often advised by peers and books that they need to be the initiator, that they need to be persistent, and they need to stand out, but what the books don’t say is that an aggressive and persistent approach leads to being perceived as annoying at best, or scary at worst. This will make a person memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
When trying to leave a first impression, remember that first impressions last. Right or wrong, they last. Assuming that things like personal hygiene, grooming, or clothing are taken care of, the actual approach can be examined.
As mentioned already, being aggressive or overly persistent does not help. A possible partner is not supposed to just give up and talk to you because you just won’t shut up and leave them alone. That’s not a good foundation for anything.
The research into memorable events talks about the power of emotion in making things memorable. If your first approach is rebuffed, a second similar approach will lead down the path of annoyance, and then anger. No means no. Move on.
But how does a person form an immediate positive emotional response?
By being intriguing.
If your approach is the right one, the person you’re approaching will be interested in finding out more. There will be no interest in finding out more if the approach is wrong, and not all approaches elicit the same response for every person. Disavow yourself of the notion that all people of the gender you are attracted to are essentially alike. The variances are huge.
Honesty, appreciation of who the person is beyond their physical appearance, in as much as you can ascertain, and an approach based on both of you as equals will be a lot more intriguing than being aggressive. This approach is more difficult, and more time consuming, but it may lead to less direct refusals, and increase the chance of either a friendship, or a lasting relationship, and the effort taken to be intriguing will narrow your focus, and help you to approach the right person, rather than approaching everyone in the gender you are attracted to.
When it comes to hard and fast rules that will guarantee success, it’s best to remember that there are none. Each person you approach will be different, and each situation will have its own merits, which is why it’s better to steer clear of guides that promise to teach you how to understand women (or men). It’s wiser and easier to try to understand the individual you want to be with.
To stand any chance of getting the opportunity to understand them, though, remember the following three guidelines:
Listen – Listen to what the person is saying, and the signals put out by body language, clothing, and attitude.
Respond – Respond in a way that shows you’re paying attention.
Respect – Be respectful by leaving if the person is not interested, and by remaining polite.
After that, you’re on your own, but hopefully not for long!
Photo: Flickr/Till Krech