June 11, 2013
What conversational behaviors lead to meaningful dates? According to a new study in the American Journal of Sociology, interrupt a lot but hold off on the questions. In the paper, “Making the Connection: Social Bonding in Courtship Situations,” researchers listened in to over 1,000 heterosexual couples on speed dates to find out what kinds of conversations made people feel a sense of connection. Four minutes of talking was enough time for most of the couples to feel like they clicked — or not. Here are a few of the paper’s findings:
Women said they felt a a stronger connection with their dates if they used sympathetic language and acknowledged that what they were saying was interesting.
FEMALE: I played in the orchestra.
MALE: Oh that’s cool.
Conversations took a turn for the worse when only one participant asked a lot of questions. Women reported doing this to keep a conversation going, while men said they would ask questions if they had nothing else to say.
Sharing stories also led to deeper connections, in addition to showing excitement for something by changing the pitch of one’s voice. The study underscores the powerful roles both verbal and nonverbal communication play in forming connections.
(via Stanford Report & Scientific American)