Ordering The Same Meal As Your Date May Lead To A Second, So Make It Count

You’ve likely heard the expression “opposites attract” — but let’s face it, having an SO who shares your penchant for morbid cult documentaries, underground hip-hop music, or nitro cold brew is pretty convenient. And as it turns out, ordering the same meal as your date can actually make the sparks fly as well. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago discovered that people are more likely to not only feel closer to others who eat the same things, but also to trust them more.

Co-authors Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach of the 2016 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, offered one group of strangers different foods to eat together, and another similar foods. They then had participants role-play in a scenario involving wage negotiation. What they found was that eating similar foods proved particularly beneficial for building trust in new relationships, when “people have limited information about the other person and are forming first impressions."

By the way — this isn’t the first study that proves we like people who are, well, like us. In 2013, researchers at the University of Royal Holloway London found that people perceive others who look similar to themselves to be trustworthy. And another 2018 survey revealed that the happiest couples share some of the same interests and hobbies, whether those include camping, sipping cocktails, or chatting about politics. And is it any surprise? The more things you have in common with someone, the less there is to argue about.

So, how is this applicable to dating? Picture this. You’re scanning a menu on a first date with that guy you’ve been chatting up on Tinder for weeks. You don’t know much about his family, his dating history, or his career aspirations yet, but when the waiter comes by, he orders pad Thai with shrimp only — your all-time favorite. You think: “he gets me!” Just like that, you feel an inexplicable kinship. Not only are you already fantasizing about sharing the same dish when you order takeout for a Netflix and chill night in, but you’re also realizing maybe you have more in common than you know. Now, consider the scenario in reverse. If you’re more likely to trust someone who orders the same dish, your date is more likely to feel a connection if you follow their lead.

“Although similarity in food consumption is not indicative of whether two people will get along, we find consumers treat this as such,” explained Woolley and Fishbach. “It means people can immediately begin to feel camaraderie and develop a bond.”

In other words, the next time you’re torn between the prosciutto panini and the super grain salad, observe what your date decides to order and consider following suit. Don’t forget to take note of their order, too — because if it’s bolognese and that happens to be one of your go-to dishes, it could very well be love at first bite.

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