When we have a positive experience — a great meal, say, or a wonderfully romantic encounter — it's natural to want to talk about it. But a new study suggests that word-of-mouth stories blunt our feelings about experiences. In other words, telling people about your best kiss or favourite restaurant will make it feel less special.
In fact, Sarah Moore, who researches how interactions affect our emotions at the Alberta School of Business, has found that when we discuss our experiences, positive or negative, our emotions about the events become less pronounced. It's the fact that such communications forces us to analyse the event in question that brings about this emotional blunting, she explains to Medical Express.
A word-of-mouth recommendation or warning invariably impacts upon the opinion of the recipient of the information. But it forces the storyteller to reconsider the event in detail, softening the experience. If you're talking about a great restaurant, for instance, it will make you spot the tiny flaws you didn't think about at the time. On the flip side, if you're recalling a bad dining experience, it might make you more likely to give the venue the benefit of the doubt. The concept extends to your love life, too. Explains Moore:
"There's a saying that you should never ask anyone why they love you. This is true-don't do it. You shouldn't be rationalizing or analysing that feeling because the more you do, the more it fades. If you have a positive emotion that you'd like to preserve, don't think about ‘why'."
The moral of the research? If you have a memory you want to preserve as special, it pays not to talk about it — otherwise, it won't stay special for long. Which might explain why bloggers are by and large such miserable people. [Medical Express]
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