Why Honest Self Assessments Matter in Relationships

Ever meet someone who’s in constant first-date mode? You know, the guy who’s great at his job, just came from the gym, and makes, like, the best martinis in the world? No one really likes that guy, and now there’s some science to back that up.

Researchers published in PLOS ONE have found that people with the most accurate self-assessments—people who can accurately point out where they fall on the attractiveness scale, people who know how smart and how dumb they are, and who know whether or not they’re likeable—tend to have the strongest relationships.

In one study, participants rated themselves and each other based on attractiveness, intelligence, and likability. According to the study, people have a tendency to view themselves in a harsher light than reality. However, they also said what they think their partners answer would be—and couples with similar answers tended to have stronger relationships.

In another study, participants nominated a friend, parent, partner, or anyone who knew them pretty well, and had that person estimate how often participants spend time on things like socializing, listening to music, surfing the web, and whatnot. Participants and their friends then rated the quality of the relationship, and then participants wore a sensor that recorded how they spent their day. However, better estimates didn’t correlate with stronger relationships, suggesting that how well their friends knew them wasn’t necessarily an indicator of a good relationship.

So, what to improve your relationships? Maybe get you know yourself a little better, starting by dispelling all the silly lies you tell yourself about yourself.

Photo courtesy of Alisha Volkommer

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