Have you noticed how good shop assistants always seem to know what you’re going to buy? That’s because they’re skilled at spotting the unconscious signals that show your intentions. Even though you’re completely unaware of them.
That also happens when you’re dating. Like no matter what you say about the people around you, your body language shows who really turns you on. So they’re the only ones who approach you. Or how your friends can see that your relationship’s over, long before you do. They’ve spotted the signs that say you’re falling out of love.
That isn’t as odd as it sounds. Because feelings like that are all entirely subconscious. They leak out as unconscious signals, but you only become aware of them as you put them into effect. So brain scanners can predict your plans, several seconds before that little ‘voice’ in your head knows anything about it. And the people around you constantly pick up those unconscious signals. So they often have a better idea of what you’re feeling than you do.
Especially as sometimes you’re completely unaware that you’re making a decision in your subconscious.
So for example, you probably don’t know why you choose what you wear when you go out. Like a woman who’s going clubbing without her regular partner, tends to wear more revealing clothing on her fertile days. The rest of the time, she dresses more modestly!
She’s also far more likely to have an affair when she’s ovulating. And if she does, she’ll choose a more masculine man as a partner. Her regular partner’s subconsciously tuned into all this, of course, so he tends to be more attentive around that time. What he’s really doing is making sure she’s not out on the town!
There are other reasons why our friends understand us better than we do ourselves. Like we pay more attention to feelings that reinforce our self-image, rather than those that conflict with it. So if you’re shy, for example, you’ll quickly forget how much fun you had at a party, and focus instead on your anxieties.
Your conscious mind also makes up stories to explain why you made a particular decision, even though it doesn’t actually know the real reason.