Our Tolerance For Our Loved Ones' Negative Qualities Diminishes Over Time

Ever find that you treat complete strangers better than friends or loved ones? It turns out there's a psychological reason for it that involves one's tolerance to close associates' negative qualities.

What's the Latest?

Do you find that you treat total strangers better than your loved ones? Or that your worst behavior is reserved for longtime friends and family? You're probably not alone, says Dr. Alex Lickerman in Psychology Today:

"it's not that all the wonderful things we loved about our loved ones when they first entered our lives have gradually become repulsive to us... Rather, it's that our tolerance for all the things we've always disliked invariably diminishes over time."

What's the Big Idea?

Lickerman offers three suggestions for better appreciating your loved ones. The first is to take time to visualize what life would be like without them (the inverse George Bailey approach). As Lickerman explains, nothing boosts feelings of gratitude quite like the threat of loss. The second strategy is to increase the amount of time you spend with your unappreciated loved one with additional company. As we are all products of who we're with as much as anything else, our behavior tends to improve in front of additional eyes. Finally, be sure to take a break from your loved ones from time to time. This is not so much a strategy for taking a breather away from your friends, but rather an opportunity to gain a new perspective on your relationship.

Keep reading at Psychology Today

Photo credit: Chinaview / Shutterstock

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less