Do you make good decisions in love?
Let’s find out!
You like a guy at work.
Despite your best efforts to get him to ask you out, it’s clear that it’s up to you if you want anything to happen.
There’s a 5% chance that he’s the love of your life.
There’s a 95% chance that if you approach him, he’ll say no AND you’ll feel humiliated AND you’ll have to keep working with him, knowing he turned you down.
Which option would you choose?
* * *
You’re in a relationship with a guy that you know isn’t the love of your life. He’s too annoying. 😉
If you leave him, there’s a 20% chance that you’ll meet someone new within 3 months who’s LOT better.
But there’s an 80% chance that you’ll spend the next year completely alone.
What would you choose?
* * *
How We Make Decisions
Admittedly, most decisions we make in love aren’t that clear cut.
We don’t know the odds. It’s guesswork.
We listen to our heart more than our head.
But it turns out that certain factors guide our decision-making, whether we’re deciding whether to leave a relationship or apply for a promotion.
Once you know what these factors are, you can see why you’re getting the results you’re getting…
And you can make even better decisions that will bring you closer to the love of your life.
The Role of Regret
Making a decision is an emotional affair.
Even when we’re at our most logical and rational, emotions creep in under the radar.
One of those emotions is regret.
Nobel prizewinner Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky discovered the role of regret in the 1970s.
They found that, when people were offered a choice between two options, they didn’t necessarily choose the option that represented the best deal.
They chose the option they would regret the least.
If they were offered a small sum of money now or a 50-50 chance to win a larger sum of money, they took the smaller sum.
They would have regretted it too much if they’d taken the 50-50 chance and walked away with nothing.
This teaches us something about human nature.
We prefer a sure bet, as long as we get something.
For example, you’re out with your friends when you spot a highly attractive man in a corner of the room.
Your jaw drops, hearts bloom in your eyes, and you immediately realize he’s out of your league.
As you sit there, wondering if you should take the risk of approaching Mr. Delicious, another man comes up to you. He’s of average attractiveness and seems quite interested in you.
You have a choice:
Do you talk to Mr. Average, knowing at least you’ll have male attention all evening?
Or do you brush him off, take a risk, and walk up to Mr. Delicious?
How We Weigh Regret
If you talk to Mr. Average, you might regret having spent your entire evening talking to someone you weren’t really interested in.
But if you go up to Mr. Delicious, get brushed off, and have to return to your table and explain what happened to your friends, you might spend the entire evening regretting what you did.
It turns out that we tend to feel more regret over what we DID than what we DIDN’T do.
If you took a chance and it blew up in your face, you’ll regret it more than if you didn’t take the chance at all, even though there’s a possibility it could have turned out really good.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t always lead to good decisions.
If there’s even a 5% chance that a man might be the love of your life, surely it’s worth taking a risk…
Rather than settling for the company of a guy who is most definitely not your future.
How can you use this information to improve the decisions you make in love?
Change Your Frame
Kahneman and Tversky found that the way you frame a choice matters.
If you frame a choice in terms of what you might lose, rather than what you might gain, you might end up making a different decision.
If you decide to remain committed to a guy you can’t see a future with, you have a 0% chance of ever finding the love of your life.
Surely even a small chance of meeting someone better would be enough to get you to end the relationship.
Similarly, if you see a guy who seems incredible, you have a 0% chance of ending up together if you refuse to take a risk and talk to him.
Even if there’s only a small chance he’ll talk back to you, surely it’s worth a try.
How much have you noticed regret playing into your love decisions?
Do you think you’ll pay more attention to it now?