Why You Should Stop Telling Everyone About Your Amazing Vacation
Instagram brags included.
So you want to Eat, Pray, Love your way from Italy to Bali? You may want to keep all those marvelous travel experiences to yourself. (Unless, you know, you pen a best-selling novel and have Julia Roberts on deck for the movie adaptation.)
At least Harvard and University of Virginia researchers Gus Cooney, Daniel T. Gilbert, and Timothy D. Wilson think so. As Cooney explained of the study he co-authored in Psychological Science in a 2017 opinion piece for Psychology Today, talking about incredible experiences is a very difficult thing to capture, and may do you and your listening companion more harm than good.
"Maybe people are just jealous: I didn't get to go island hopping in French Polynesia, so it makes me bitter to hear your amazing tales if you did. But while surely this is sometimes true, I think it's too cynical, because people do seem quite curious about extraordinary experiences," writes Cooney. "The problem is that when we try to bring our extraordinary experiences to life by recounting them to other people, we don't do a very good job." On the whole — and as the Psychological Science research affirmed — conversing about so-called "extraordinary experiences" with others can be a killjoy for you when you go back and recount them.
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As Cooney puts it, "...talking about an extraordinary experience is much trickier, and our words often bear little resemblance to the real thing. Conversation is something we construct together, and so it thrives on what we have in common."
So whether you're Elizabeth Gilbert and have a year to spare cavorting around this tiny blue planet or just got back from a spectacular BFF getaway, keep it to yourself — you can still cherish it in your heart and memories for eons to come — and you may be happier.