I look askance at psychological and sociological “studies” that are trotted frequently in order to present a better understanding of how attraction and dating works. Usually, the studies use some sort of questionnaire and the participants are requested to answer a series of questions. Those answers are supposed to reveal truths and patterns regarding human behavior.
Those kinds of studies can work if the questions aren’t about dating and attraction. Those studies are mostly worthless when they focus on dating and attraction. This is because of one fundamental reason: people lie. To be more polite, people say what they are expected to say. It’s the polite company conundrum.
The classic example of this is when men and women are asked about the number of sexual partners they have had. No one tells the truth on that one. But researchers keep presenting questionnaire answers as some form of “truth” regarding human sexuality. Nice try, Poindexter.
So how is anyone to make sense of attraction and dating if the sociological studies are so flawed? Look to people’s actions and not necessarily their words. If a dating and attraction study is based on actually watching human behavior “in the wild” then it is far more valuable when presenting truth.
All of us can become social and psychological researchers if we carefully observe actual human behavior in the context of attraction and dating. I do this constantly when in social situations so I can pass along useful information to my readers. I make a point to be acutely aware of social scenarios, particularly when men and women are together.
When observing, the challenge is to notice the subtle things like tone of voice, eye contact, and body language. It takes practice. The best source for seeing human interactions is go places where first, second, and third dates are happening on a regular basis. Also, singles Meetup group events are a great source for observation.
The other challenge is to keep an open mind and see how people interact without the lens of political correctness or social expectations. This is difficult. Too many of us are absolutely brainwashed by the horrible conventional attraction and dating wisdom. “Be nice, be yourself” is an example of such horrible wisdom.
Successful dating coaches reap the rewards of such action-based and directly observable social research. Capitalism is a brutal filter for the accuracy of ideas. Bad attraction and dating advice is simply bad for business. Goodbye, politically correct dating coach. This is why I pay close attention to successful dating coaches and the advice they give.
When it comes to meeting our relationship goals, this is the realm of “what is” and not “what should be”. But the first step of discovering “what is” requires a keen eye and observant frame of mind. Oh, and don’t stare at people. Practice some subtlety when you are observing.