Gretchen Rubin

Why it’s a good idea to show up.

This morning, I went to an informal monthly coffee for the parents of second-graders at the Big Girl's school. We all met at a nearby diner, right after drop-off.

A good number of people attended, and it was a nice mix of seeing friends and meeting new folks. I had a lot of fun.

Afterwards, as I walked away, it occurred to me that the coffee demonstrated the power of two psychological principles.

First, interacting with people gives a happiness bost. Studies show that not only extraverts, but--perhaps surprisingly--introverts, too, are made happier by social contact. I really felt energized by having the chance to sit and talk to people for an hour.

Second, familiarity breeds affection. The "mere exposure effect" describes the fact that repeated exposure makes people like music, faces--even nonsense syllables--better. According to the "exposure principle," the more often a person sees another person, the more intelligent and attractive that person will be ranked.

I've noticed this about myself. Even when I don't take an immediate liking to people, I always like them better, the more I see them.

This shows the importance of my resolution to "Show up." By being present, by seeing people repeatedly, I increase my liking of them and their liking of me.
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Pollyanna Week is a fascinating experiment.
I've learned so much.
It has proved to be a terrific challenge.
I'm eager to do better.
(I type this with my orange reminder bracelet sitting beside my computer.)

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