We all know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Obviously, those relationships are complex. By the same token if all women come from the same planet our relationships with our girlfriends should be easy.
Then why aren’t they?
Why are some single moms so mean to other single moms? After all, we’re not only from the same planet, we actually come from the same tribe!
Well, Wired writer, researcher and founder of bakadesuyou.com, Eric Barker reported that relationships are both cooperative and competitive.
Baker states that, “We work together with the ones we love, but we also have a bit of rivalry going on at times. It’s natural, but difficult.” This leads to envy and schadenfreude. Schadenfreude means taking pleasure in another’s misfortune. Cool word not such a cool action.
In a neuroscience study led by Hidehiko Takahashi of Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences, he found that the experience of schadenfreude is more pronounced the more similar the person experiencing the misfortune is to us. A clear indication as to why the competition between single moms is inevitable. Certainly is one good reason Jen was so mean to single mom, Taylor, in the new novel “My Lover’s Keeper.
Unfortunately, schadenfreude can hurt the relationships we should be cherishing and supporting. So how can we make sure those people feel more like we’re on their side, and less like a rival to be outdone?
Research has 5 solutions
1. Be a Screw Up
If your life seems too perfect it will make other single moms resent you because they won’t trust you. Research shows that people who inspire the most trust are those who are warm and competent. And it turns out that people who screw up seem more approachable or warm. To address this issue try something new that your friend might be better at than you, like tennis or pilates. Or be open about your flubs. Post some of your more vulnerable moments on FB or Instagram.
2. Ask a Silly Question
Research found that regardless of how silly the question, or comment, as long as it conveyed care and concern, it boosted perceptions of warmth and increased trust. For example, simply inquiring ”Is this a good time to talk?” increased compliance with requests.
3. Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery
Even though it didn’t work so well with your older sibling, when you were little, it is complementary in friendships. Sitting like they do, folding your hands like they do, etc. helps us truly understand what another person is experiencing.
4. Ask For Advice
Asking for advice is a powerful way to get other people to understand your perspective. Katie Liljenquist of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School found that when we ask others for advice, they will put themselves in our shoes and look at the world from our vantage point. And asking for advice signals respect, so you’ve have just flattered your girlfriend by seeking her advice.
5. Apologize The Right Way
There are many ways to apologize, but one that works the best is to promise to change. Barker’s research found that a promise to change had the most impact on how much trust a subject placed in her friend in subsequent rounds of the experiment. So whenever you feel reluctant to apologize, a good tip is to try focusing on what results you want to achieve versus who is right or wrong.
Any one or all 5 of these can be employed in your girlfriend relationships for a change. Give them a try and let me know how it works! I love to hear from you!