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Science-Backed Dating Tip of The Day: Talk the Talk


Apparently, the best way to form a lasting bond between you and your significant other is to mimic each other’s speech patterns. Why? Because this is how we learned to bond with our mommies. Yes, apparently when two people are connecting over a conversation and speaking in similar manners, repeating certain words and cues, it stems directly from our mothers and others repeating our own baby babble to us. So, if there’s someone you’ve had your eye on, here’s another fun thing to think about while trying to impress them.

Psychology Today says that “language style matching” is what creates that initial trust and understanding between infants and their elders. For example, if a baby is saying “Bah bah bah,” the mother would then respond with “Bah bah bah,” which the baby would recognize and become connected to the conversation.

And somehow, this is supposed to apply to grown-ups having conversations on dates.

James Pennebaker and Molly Ireland at the University of Texas at Austin, along with their colleagues at Northwestern University, ran an experiment during a speed-dating session to see if the couples who made connections used similar words with each other throughout the course of their “mini-dates.”

Using a computer algorithm to analyze the speed-daters’ conversations, Pennebaker and Ireland found that men and women that wanted to see each other again matched each other’s function words significantly more often than those that had no interest in each other. Function words are like glue. They are not nouns or words; rather, they show how those words relate. They are words like “the,” “a,” “be,” “anything,” “that,” “will,” “him,” and “well.” They are the “yeses” and “okays” and the pauses and interjections between words. They are the “ifs,” “ands,” and “buts.” By themselves they don’t sound like much, but they set a mood.

The more a couple’s language styles matched, especially the function words, the likelier they were to hit it off.

Conclusion: The couples who spoke the most similarly wanted to see each other again and were likely to be together three months later.

But here’s something kind of depressing (because it’s such a statement on our reliance on technology and distance in order to have a conversation): A site has been created to analyze conversations from chats and texts to see how compatible the two parties are as a couple. So if this site says that you and your S.O. do not communicate well over Gchat, then sorry — it’s not meant to be. So says science.

(Psychology Today via The Hairpin)

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