Mind Reading, Expectations, Emotional Intelligence, Valentine’s Day
Given that I don’t watch much television (“any” turned into “much” once I started watching “Downton Abby”), I find watching commercials a rare event in my life. Other than the carefully crafted and clever Super Bowl commercials, I find myself doing a lot to avoid advertisements selling me the latest and greatest.
I especially find Valentine’s Day advertisements annoying. Why? Because many of them focus on just a handful of clichéd themes surrounding the nature of romance. Usually, there is an engendered story: man needs to buy his wife a gift to show that he loves her, and he feels pressured to pick just the right thing without being told what might make her happy. Get it right, and she’s happy and over the moon! Get it wrong, and he’s in the doghouse for days to come.
What are we really seeing here? It’s the management of expectations, specifically around that of mind reading, called Mind Reading Expectations, or MRE. The man is supposed to know what the woman wants without her having to tell him, a sort of, “Where’s the fun in that?” mixed with, “He should know me by now.”