Do you fall into the “liking gap” when meeting someone new?

That’s what researchers at Cornell, Harvard and Yale call the certainty that a new acquaintance doesn’t think much of us as soon as we open our mouths. In a series of five studies of strangers engaged in a 5-minute, ice-breaker conversation, psychologists found people typically liked their partner more than they thought their partner liked them. It seems we don’t pay enough attention to signs of interest and enjoyment. We also tend to be overly critical of ourselves and cautious. Even optimistic people become pessimistic about their conversations, they say. So stop worrying about what other people must be thinking about you–which is just a reflection of what you are thinking about yourself. And remember that they’re probably convinced that you don’t like them much either. “Conversations are a great source of happiness in our lives, but even more than we realize, it seems, as others like us more than we know,” the researchers conclude. For psychology and personality news, follow the New Personality Self-Portrait on LinkedIn.