"You must remember that anyone under 30 — especially a ballplayer — is an adolescent,” he once told me. “I never got close to being an adult until I was 32. Even though I was married and had a son at 20, I was a kid at 32, living at home with my parents. Sure, I was a manager then. That doesn’t mean you’re grown up.
You know all those TV shows and movies and anime where the guy and girl never say what they feel and this drags on to the point of insanity and you’re like “JUST TELL IT ALREADY DAMMIT!!”? Turns out that pointless, annoying dilly-dallying is actually beneficial to the success of the relationship.
This research qualifies a social psychological truism: that people like others who like them (the reciprocity principle). College women viewed the Facebook profiles of four male students who had previously seen their profiles. They were told that the men (a) liked them a lot, (b) liked them only an average amount, or (c) liked them either a lot or an average amount (uncertain condition). Comparison of the first two conditions yielded results consistent with the reciprocity principle. Participants were more attracted to men who liked them a lot than to men who liked them an average amount Results for the uncertain condition, however, were consistent with research on the pleasures of uncertainty. Participants in the uncertain condition were most attracted to the men—even more attracted than were participants who were told that the men liked them a lot. Uncertain participants reported thinking about the men the most, and this increased their attraction toward the men.
So next time you fall in love, don’t tell them right away. Tease them with your uncertainty till they (and all who observe) end up in a mental asylum ‘cause apparently that’s how humans work (doing this increases the time the target thinks of you leading to higher chances of a favorable response). Marlon Brando employed this strategy in his life and he was quoted approaching friendships as a spider tackles its prey; he moves closer, pulls back after a while and then moves closer again thus slowly weaving his target into his web.
The whole process, to me, is very convoluted but knowing the reason for why this strategy seems successful makes it a bit more palatable. If I have to give an anology, this strategy of maintaining ucertainty is like a dance and dance is way more harder and absolutely pointless when the goal is simply to move from point A(strangers) to point B(relationship) when compared to just walking straight from A to B. Yet dance is undeniably more memorable and interesting than just marching from point A to point B. Guess it’s the same deal here, when it comes to human relationships the memorable and more interesting “uncertainty” approach has a higher success rate than the straighforward approach.
(Of course, the rich and the famous and the beautiful have no need for these convoluted strategies, these are mainly for normies like you and me.)
Like a trapeze artist, there is sure to be a moment of mid-air terror as we bridge to our new self, terror which may include status-undermining stints as professional spaghetti thrower or underemployed IP expert. Ironically, we are far less likely to experience a face-palming splat during a transition if we fling ourselves onto the next curve. Remember too, that while we may think we crave the predictability of nary a transition or modulation to a new key of life, our brain requires the dopamine of the unpredictable. It may well be that in the seeming terrible moment of transition as we leap to our passionate self, there is just enough—space, for us to discover who we really are.
"I believe that they who wish to do easy things without trouble and toil must previously have been trained in more difficult things."
"Genius is an African who dreams up snow."
In 1980, 16 shipwrecked Danish fishermen were hauled to safety after an hour and a half in the frigid North Sea. They then walked across the deck of the rescue ship, stepped below for a hot drink, and dropped dead, all 16 of them.
The whole piece is chock-full of thrilling goodness.
"If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm."
"Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."
Never before was there a quote that summed up my outlook on social relationships so precisely.
We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.
—Lydia Davis, “Affinity”