How do you know if you really ‘click’ with someone? Relationships are central to everything we do, so how do we save time and protect ourselves from negative repercussions, by only hanging around people who are right for us?
Whether it’s a business connection, a first date, or a friend of a friend, we begin by investing time with them. And then we invest even more time with them. And time is precious. As Jim Rohn said, ‘Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you can’t get more time.’
You can also get your health back but you can’t get back the time that you spent feeling ill.
You can get a relationship back (on track) but you can’t get back the time you spent arguing, crying and stressing.
Indeed, time is precious. So why squander it away.
Why give it to those who really don’t care about you, regardless of how much they may pretend to. Some people only hang around for what they can get from you, such as financial gains, to quell their loneliness, business success, or to raise their self-esteem.
Yes we learn from bad experiences, and they help build us into the stronger versions of ourselves when we use the lessons to our advantage, but it’s better to learn quickly! It’s better to make progress on your life goals quickly, whatever domain they may be in, dating, relationships, career, health, fitness, social, altruism, or spiritual.
Researchers Find A Robust Indicator Of Connection Between Two Humans
So how do we know if someone is worth investing more time in as soon as we meet them? According to new research, one indicator is how quickly you ‘click’ in conversations, or put another way, how fast you respond to someone you’re conversing with .
The researchers found that both friends and strangers felt more connected with their conversation partner when the other person responded quickly to them, whilst how quickly they themselves responded to their conversation partner did not make them feel any more or less connected. In other words, we evaluate our (budding) relationships with both strangers and friends, by how quickly they respond and that tells us whether we ‘click’, clicking being a common metaphor for the connection we feel with another person.
Furthermore, even onlookers – or we might call them eavesdroppers – felt the same way. They assumed those who responded to one another quickly were more well connected than those with slower response times in their conversations.
What’s more, the response times themselves backed up the participants’ subjective feelings of being better or less well connected.
Those who subjectively felt like they were clicking, did so when the response times were under 250ms, i.e. less than a quarter of a second. This brief response time shows a genuine connection between the conversing partners due to the fact that responses that are less than 250ms are made before we take conscious control. In other words, responding that quickly comes down to a whole host of reactions in the brain that occur completely at the subconscious level and, therefore, you cannot pretend to be well connected by simply mimicking the behaviour of well-connected people.
If two people are conversing and they are responding in less than 250ms to one another, their feeling that they are clicking is genuinely correct. Why? Because in that time and even whilst the speaker is still talking, the person listening has to:
‘…prepare an appropriate response in advance, notice when their partner is likely to end their turn, decide when to deliver their response, and anticipate their partner’s reaction…Building an overarching mental model of the conversation further aids prediction, helping to anticipate not only when their partner is going to speak but where their thoughts are headed…As such, response time conveys how well one mind predicts another, a behavioral metric of being “heard and understood”…’ state the researchers, whilst also referencing other studies to support this.
When You ‘Click’ With Someone
So when you’re on a first date, having a business meeting, socialising with a friend or making new friends, you’ll know if you’re clicking, without a timer, because like the people in the research, you’ll intuitively sense the presence of a good connection yourself. And what that will tell you is that they really are present, listening and understanding.
Essentially, you’re in sync. And that’s important in life. From a survival perspective, that’s incredibly important. Clicking at this subconscious level, could be the difference between life and death.
Imagine you’re in a convenience store and some thugs come in shouting at the shopkeeper to hand over the money in the till, and you’re with one of your friends that you’re very well connected with. You whisper and motion to your friend about which direction to try to exit in whilst lowering your body and tiptoeing lightly to remain undetected, and your friend rapidly understands. Doing so could save precious milliseconds that may save your lives.
And what if you’re on a date with a sociopath or psychopath, or maybe you’re dating one? As this feeling of being well connected comes from conversationally responding to one another in less than a quarter of a second, before conscious control has the ability to kick in, armed with this knowledge that may be one of the red flags that makes you realise that they are not genuinely connected with you.
As sociopaths, psychopaths and other insincere people such as covert narcissists, frequently mimic their target’s thoughts and behaviours, and act how one is meant to act in a given situation, they won’t be able to mimic a genuine signal of being well-connected by always or mostly responding in under 250ms. Repeatedly encountering that delay in the back and forth when you’re conversing, could help you to realise that this is not the right person for you to be romantically involved in.
How To Apply This Connection Signal To Your Life
Next time you are getting acquainted with someone and are wondering whether you should invest more time in this budding relationship, pay attention to that feeling you get when you’re conversing with them:
- When you’re clicking – when there is frequently or consistently a rapid response that feels fast – there will be an energy to it. It will feel exciting and ‘bouncy’. Clicking flows and feels easy.
- When you’re not quite clicking – if there is frequently or consistently a delay in their response that feels slow – there will be a lack of energy to it. It will feel unexciting and ‘heavy’, like something is weighing you down. Not clicking feels awkward and arduous.
Armed with this knowledge, as you later reflect back on your earlier conversations with that person, your mind will tell you, usually very quietly but clearly, ‘Yeah, we’re not really jelling.’ Pay attention to your inner voice, pay attention to your intuition, it’s there to serve you. It exists to keep you alive and happy and well.
Yes it can be frustrating, or even incredibly sad, to have to realise that a budding relationship, or even an old one you’ve cherished for so long, isn’t right for you or isn’t right for you anymore, but better to pay attention to the warnings before those people ruin your other relationships, your career, your finances, your self-esteem, your self-image, your health, or your happiness, and waste the precious days of your life.
Templeton, E. M., Chang, L. J., Reynolds, E. A., Cone LeBeaumont, M. D., & Wheatley, T. (2022). Fast response times signal social connection in conversation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(4), e2116915119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2116915119