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🔑 Liking is the Key: Unveiling the Basics to Thriving Relationships.
Hello friend! 👋
Relationships make up our world, whether those we have with others or that we have with ourselves.
These relationships thrive on affinity and positive regard for one another. i.e. liking one another.
Yes you can have a relationship with someone without having to like them (work, political, etc…). However, relationships that are important to our wellbeing (partners, friends, family, role models, etc…) thrive on liking.
Social psychologists have researched this concept for many decades and they divide liking into three main drivers; Familiarity, similarity, and reciprocity.
These define who we choose to like.
Let’s unpack these and how we can use them to support our positive relationships.
Familiarity increases chances for liking, the higher the exposure the higher the positive regard for that person.
Brands do this very well - ever wondered why top brands still continue to advertise?
You know it, to stay top of mind. Consistent exposure is crucial for creating familiarity. It allows the mind to form new memories, connections, and associations related to the person. This helps to keep the person top of mind and strengthen the relationship.
If you want a relationship to be supported, increase the touch points between the two parts of the relationship. This can be at work, at home, for your personal relationships, or for relationships within your team and organization.
Be careful though, it’s not all good.
Like with anything too much of anything is not good. Proximity or many touch points can be tricky, too much of it and the person can hinder liking. However, the right amount can amplify it.
How often do you get in touch those with whom you want to form or maintain a positive relationship with?
We are extremely good at keeping high exposure for new relationships and unfortunately this takes the backseat while we get busy with other things in life. Keeping a healthy amount of exposure and connection is necessary for maintaining your important relationships.
This one’s straight forward, we like those who are like us.
Having shared values, shared visions, common goals, same hobbies, or even similar taste in food and fashion are all basis on which we build our similarity gauge. The more similar, the more relatable and like-able.
Why do we prefer that?
Scientists say it is revolutionary. We have an instinct to seek harmony to allow us to avoid conflicts, build trust, move with speed, and be at ease.
But opposites attract, right?
Well, this is can easily turn into a philosophical topic, so here’s my short answer and personal opinion. Opposites attract yet, however not at deep levels of a relationship. In our partners, families, and those close relationships, we seek common values as a foundation to build on.
While opposite skills, tastes, approaches may be complementary for other levels.
Also, here’s a cool catch - while similarity can increase liking, liking can increase perceived similarity (we tend to perceive our partners as more similar to us than they actually are) - this is called Positive Illusion.
Positive Illusions are necessary, especially for romantic relationships where partners can help each other move towards the ideal versions of themselves (even if in reality they’re pretty far off).
Review those relationships you want to strengthen or build and seek out what common values and other similarities you have. Bring more intentionality in showcasing that to them and use this as the basis for maintaining and strengthening the relationship
This one’s also straight forward, we like those who like us (mostly ☺️).
It is a human nature, when someone’s genuinely being nice to you and shares that they like you, our human nature is to hold that person in positive regard too. This can generate a powerful perpetual generative liking for both people in the relationship.
In this case, it doesn’t matter who started, the positive feedback loop keeps the momentum going.
Reciprocal liking can be established through two ways:
Association: Having a shared experience (positive mood in a party or negative traumatic event)
Positive Reinforcement: Communicating it directly.
While the second one is obvious, the first one is pretty interesting - especially that of traumatic experience.
Shared trauma can create a sense of association (beyond that of similarity) whereby we can relate to each others experienc
How often do you communicate how much you like those you actually like?
Communicating likeness can happen in many different ways, it can be through actions and gestures. However, nothing beats a good old direct-communication by telling the person and reminding them that you hold them in positive regard.
Want to SUPER charge that? Tell them why as well.
With that we come to the end of today’s letter. Take a moment or two to reach out to those important in your life and let them know!
Have a Super Sunday! 💪
With much joy,
PS. Today is the first day of the 8-week MBSR class and I’m SUPER excited to guide the group on this beautiful journey 😁. I have kept the link open for those who wish to join the next offering.