Turns out the same personality trait that has you begrudgingly hosting this year’s Super Bowl party could also have you trying to match your overindulging pals chicken wing for chicken wing.
Nauseous or not, you wouldn’t want them to be embarrassed, right?
Those of us with people-pleasing personalities will eat regardless of whether we’re hungry if we think it will put others at ease, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University.
“People-pleasers feel more intense pressure to eat when they believe that their eating will help another person feel more comfortable,” Julie Exline, the study’s lead author, said in a release. “Almost everyone has been in a situation in which they’ve felt this pressure, but people-pleasers seem especially sensitive to it.”
In the study, participants first answered a questionnaire to determine their level of sociotropy (the scientific name for the people-pleasing personality trait). Then, they were seated with an actor posing as a fellow participant. The experimenter would hand the actor a bowl of candy, and the actor would take a small handful before offering the dish to the participant. After taking some candies, participants were asked to report how many they ate and why. People with the highest sociotropy scores reported taking more sweets.
A recent, similar study from the Netherlands produced similar results. Researchers had pairs of women dine together and found that the duos ate in a similar manner and at the same pace, even taking bites in sync.
So if your friends tend to overeat and you live to make everyone happy, it might be best to meet them for a coffee, not lunch.
Do your friends influence your eating habits?