We’ve established that even though unreciprocated love is one of the suckiest things ever, a guy is not a jerk if he doesn’t like you back. But what if you could force that guy to like you back? And what if it was as simple as science?
From Psychology Today:
Edward LeMay and Noah Wolf claim that falsely projecting your own romantic desires onto a friend may give you the confidence to pursue that friend by flirting, having more physical contact, or even expressing your desires. This kind of behavior can put into play a self-fulling prophecy.
So put a little less dryly: if you like a dude, and believe (even falsely) that he likes you back, you’ll be more likely to flirt with him, and your flirtatious behavior may lead to him eventually liking you back. It’s just like that story you’ve been telling yourself in your head – that if you don’t give up, he’ll eventually come to his senses and realize how great you are. Well, now science actually backs it up.
In the first study, 127 pairs of opposite sex friends (all college students) completed questionnaires assessing their romantic desire for their friend and their perception of their friend’s romantic desire for them. They also reported on how often they engaged in romantic initiation behaviors, such as telling the other person about their romantic interest, attempts at physical intimacy (e.g., “Tried to kiss him/her”), flirtation, nonverbal communication (e.g., “Looked deep into his/her eyes), and appearance enhancement (e.g., “Tried to make myself look more attractive around him/her”). They also completed a questionnaire assessing their own mate value — that is, how good of catch they felt they were.
Who the hell thinks that they are a bad catch? If you’re writing that down on a survey, you’ve got bigger things to worry about that some dude not liking you back. Moving on.
The results showed that we do project our romantic feelings onto our friends. When participants had romantic or sexual desire for their friends, they tended to overestimate how much that desire was reciprocated. This was especially likely to occur for participants who felt that they, themselves, were a good catch. This is because a less confident person is unlikely to falsely believe that others are interested in him/her without evidence. Moreover, those who projected their own desire onto their friend were more likely to engage in relationship initiation behaviors, such as flirting.
In a second study, the researchers surveyed 102 opposite sex friend pairs once a week for a one month period, completing the same measures as the previous study. Participants also evaluated their friend’s mate value.
The results once again showed that participants projected their romantic desires onto their friends, and this projection made them more likely to make romantic moves toward their friend. In addition, those participants who reported the highest levels of desire for their friend, and those whose desire increased over the four weeks, thought their friend desired them more, and this was unrelated to whether or not the friend’s desire increased over that time period. As in the first study, this kind of projection was especially likely to happen if the participant felt that s/he was a good catch.
The bottom line: “The participants’ romantic behaviors toward their friends made it more likely that the friends became more attracted to them over time.”
There is one big stipulation to this whole “believe and it will happen” scenario: the object of your desire has to perceive that you would are a good catch in order to eventually get the feels for you. According to the study, “If the friend generally thought the participant was undesirable, then no amount of romancing could change that.” But let’s be honest: you’re amazing, he just hasn’t figured it out yet.
And now, apparently, science says that he will. So don’t give up hope just yet..
[via Psychology Today]