Has this ever happened to you? You meet someone at a networking event, through a colleague or elsewhere. You talk for a bit, then agree to reconnect. But as time passes, you begin to question whether the good vibe you felt was shared by the other person.

According to researchers at Cornell and Harvard Universities, it’s common to feel this way. But, more often than not, it’s a false perception. They call it the “liking gap” and say it can hinder our ability to develop new relationships.

In conjunction with another researcher at University of Essex, they studied pairs of participants. On average, ratings showed that each person liked their partner more than they thought their partner liked them. Self-protective pessimism may cause us to assume others don’t like us, when the opposite is true. So go ahead, make that follow up call. Send that email. It will likely be received better than you think.


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