Be socially optimistic. Expect that people will like you and they probably will.
So this provides evidence that the acceptance prophecy holds true. In this experiment people who expected to be accepted did act more warmly towards a stranger and consequently they were perceived as more likeable.
Social optimists, of course, are in the happy position of expecting to be accepted and finding that, generally speaking, they are. Social pessimists, though, face the dark side of what sociologist Robert K. Merton—who coined the expression ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’—has called a ‘reign of error’. Expectation of rejection leads to the projection of colder, more defensive behaviour towards others, and this leads to actual rejection.
Join over 135,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.
I want to subscribe!