If you want to collect passport stamps and catch feelings, your wanderlust could be causing a major delay in the takeoff of a new relationship. At least, according to recent research conducted at Harvard University. How come? Well, no one wants to hear about your trips. (Sorry.)
If you’ve traveled far and wide — or at least make an effort to take a long vacation every year — you know how the story goes. Once you return home, you’re pumped to show your friends and loved ones your photos, perform the funniest experience and even gift a trinket you found for them. Those who love you will tolerate your rambling for a hot second, but if you pay attention, their eyes will quickly gloss over as they lose interest. More often than not, they’ll come across bored… because they are.
Psychologists at Harvard speculate this has a lot to do with how unaccessible some travel seems. Sure, to you, trekking Machu Picchu or making it to the land down under was only a matter of time on your bucket list. For others though, it seems so far-fetched and impossible, it’s hard to relate or feign interest. And in some cases, researchers share even well-meaning and loving pals can harbor jealousy if they aren’t able to get out of town like you are.
To test this theory, they divided participants into small groups, where one person was given a hilarious clip of a street performer to watch alone, while everyone else watched a not-so-great video together. Right after the viewing, they asked everyone to rate how happy they felt in that moment. Then, they joined everyone together to discuss their experience before separating them. Lastly, they asked them how happy they felt now and how included they felt amongst the group. While the solo-watchers felt more joy, they didn’t feel included.
What glimpse does this give us into dating? Unless the person you’re sitting across from at the bar or dinner table is also a globe-trotter, you may bore them with your ‘This one time I was in Thailand…’ tales. And better yet? Researchers stress the immense benefit of investing in friendships — and relationships — where you can nomad well together. If you’re online dating, make sure your profile illustrates what role traveling plays in your life, and only swipe ‘yep’ on those who match your interests. If you’re seeking love IRL, consider joining traveling communities or signing up for a language class to potentially meet a partner.
And if you happen to order a glass of your favorite red wine from Chile, and your date perks up, sharing she has toured vineyards there before? Jackpot.