The first impression we make during a conversation is important to many of us. But it is also a nightmare. To think that we have been a little heavy or not pleasant enough is relatively common. In this situation, the researchers would speak of a “liking gap”, a gap in appreciation that distorts the perception that others may have of us.
People might like you more than you think…
“What does he think of me?“, “Do I talk a lot?“…These are often questions that cross our minds after meeting new people. We know that conversations can be anxiety-provoking or even intimidating, which leads us to fear what people may think of us. Result : we believe that we have been unpleasant when this is far from being the reality.
If you have ever been in this situation, know that it has a name, it is the “liking gap” (“appreciation gap” in French). As its name suggests, this refers to the difference between the image you think you sent back and the one received by your interlocutor. This mechanism, more common than we think, distorts the perception that others may have of us. Because yes, people might like you more than you think.
We are our worst critics
Recently popularized by the social network TikTok, the “liking gap” is the subject of several videos, such as those of the Internet user Dellara. The young woman explains that we are actually our worst critics. In the comments, the “liking gap” seems to be familiar to the majority of Internet users. One of them comments:I constantly worry that my friends will hate me, so that’s good to know“. Or : “I’m so surprised when my friends like me“. And it would be a social phenomenon that is based on academic research according to the tiktokeuse.
Indeed, a 2018 study published in the journal Psychological Science would have shown that in all our social interactions, we have an unfortunate tendency to underestimate how much others appreciate us. It is from several scenarios between university students that the researchers were able to make their observations. For example, when strangers know each other in a lab, when freshmen get to know their roommates, or when strangers meet in a workshop. In each group, participants were asked how much they liked the person they were getting to know and how much they thought the other person liked them. The study raised several interesting points. Participants very often had “remarkably negative internal monologueswhere they made their own guess about what others perceived of them. They also doubted their ability to carry on an interesting or sympathetic conversation, even if the person in front of them cracked a smile. , the “liking gap” exists mostly because we can’t just ask people if they liked us at the end of a conversation. Lack of self-confidence is largely due to this embarrassment. And it’s a phenomenon that develops during childhood.
Good in your body, good in your head!
The Linking gap, unknown in children
In 2021, another research investigated how the “liking gap” manifests in children over the age of five. Research has found that the appreciation gap develops as it grows. It becomes more important over the years, especially when the child becomes concerned about his own reputation. “Very young children don’t really care if another person likes them, they don’t care about the reputation they get. But as this voice cares about reputation, the appreciation gap begins to appear.“, explains Dr. Gus Cooney, a psychologist who specializes in social interactions, to Vice.
But rest assured, it’s a feeling that fades with time. In the case of the 2018 study, we learn that the more we get to know a person, the more the appreciation gap decreases. Indeed, it is by forging links that we become more comfortable and thus less likely to pay attention to this little voice that makes us think that we are unpleasant. Like what, you have to go through a few moods to feel comfortable with yourself and with others.