No one cares and everyone thinks you're the worst when you share them. Sorry, but it's true.
As someone who gets to divide her time between two great cities, New York and Paris, and gets to travel quite a bit thanks to my job, I often feel like a braggy outcast among some of my friends. Although a lot of my friends, especially those who call their home base NYC, live a fairly similar lifestyle, those who do not just don't seem to care for my tales of this and that, in this country or that country. If anything, they sort of respond to me as if I'm a jerk. Which, honestly, some days make me sad, and other days makes me wonder what crawled up their ass and died. But now, science, yet again, has shown me the way.
A new study out of Harvard University has found that if you want to keep your relationships, both romantic and otherwise, going strong, then you need to shut up about your fancy experiences. Why? Because no one cares and everyone thinks you're the worst when you share them. Sorry, but it's true.
Psychologist Gus Cooney, who thinks if you stay boring and just like everyone else, you'll be psychologically healthier put his theory to the test with four people and two videos. One person watched a pretty exciting video about a street magician, while the other three were forced to watch a boring cartoon. Afterward, the four participants were put in a room for five minutes to have a nice lil chat. Although they were told they could talk about anything they wanted, the conversation steered toward the videos, and the odd person out who didn’t get to watch the boring cartoon felt alone and isolated.
As Cooney explained, "The participants in our study mistakenly thought that having an extraordinary experience would make them the star of the conversation. But they were wrong, because to be extraordinary is to be different than other people, and social interaction is grounded in similarities."
So this leaves people trying to figure out if it is, indeed, really great to live a life less ordinary in order to be happy or does happiness, true happiness, rely on fitting in with those around you? Cooney suggests that when you do make plans to do something "epic and life-changing" focus on the aftermath in social situations, as opposed to how the experience will make you feel: "If an experience turns you into someone who has nothing in common with others, then no matter how good it was, it won't make you happy in the long run." Um, OK.
Call me crazy, but I, for one, would rather live life on my own terms and experience everything I can. If that makes me a leper among those I know, then whatever. I'm of the belief that your happiness should never be based on the opinions or thoughts of others.
Personally, I think there's more fun in being a lone wolf, as opposed to one of thousands of sheep who all look and act the same. But then again, I'm about to book a month-long trip to Morocco, so I might not be the best authority on the subject.