No doubt about it: relationships are confounding. It's damn near impossible to figure out why some people last on the jalopy of love, while others get bumped at the first turn...or why we fall for some and not for others. Oh Mistress Psychology, how tricky you are!
Have you ever heard, for instance, of the Benjamin Franklin Effect? Franklin made a surprising social discovery in his life travels. To put it simply: doing a favor for someone makes you like that person more. Yes, you read that correctly. Though you'd think it'd work the other way around, when someone asks you for a favor, they're implying favorable things about you. You have been trusted to help because you are wise. You are awesome. You . . . can . . . do . . . ANYTHING! Of course you're going to like someone who makes you feel this way.
SoulPancake, the news and entertainment forum founded by Office actor Rainn Wilson, recently conducted an experiment to determine if the Benjamin Franklin Effect is alive in romantic relationships as well. It took real couples and made them perform acts of kindness for one other. Everyone was asked questions about their relationship and partner before and after the exchanging of niceties.
So...is this theory true when it comes to love? Actually, yes. Those who were kind to their partner became up to 5% more attracted to them. The best quote from the video?
Make sure you allow room in the relationship for the other person to also give it back and invest in you. So maybe don’t insist on paying the bill every time or driving to their place every time. Give them a shot to invest and put just as much into it as you do. Whether you’re trying to get into a relationship or deeper into a long-term one, give your partner a chance to contribute to it.
Then again, the percentage change isn't that high. So is this just such hokey pseudo-science...or a revealing truth about the nature of romance? See for yourself.
Image: Love is in the air. Courtesy of SoulPancake's YouTube channel