Why People Like Me

I was listening to a lecture on love by Yale President Peter Solovey and he mentioned a psychological effect that explains why people like me.

Some of us wandering this world struggle with chronic amazingness.  Indeed, it is onerous.  Being good at everything annoys people.  Empirical stuff says so!  It’s objectively unlikeable.

Yet people do like me!  How can this be?  Shouldn’t the awesome oozing from my pores be driving them away?  The answer, it turns out, has nothing to do with seriously-mega-rock-solid assumptions, but with something called the “Pratfall Effect.”  Apparently, psychologists have observed that, for highly competent people, it helps to have major visible screw-ups that you can take responsibility for that shows you are just human.  Scientists see it over and over.  Not having it all together allows people to love you.

I suspect lots of people already know about the Pratfall Effect.  Maybe it’s another of those things that never quite made it to Taiwan growing up.  When I heard about it today I instantly realized something.  For years I’ve been saying that my stuttering has a strange effect on people.  Its not such a bad stutter that it substantially frustrates communication, but its just bad enough to let people know that I am struggling and don’t have it all together.  I guess its endearing to say smart things while looking like an idiot.

So now I broadcast wise counsel across the blogosphere to all those who, like me, struggle with chronic amazingness.  Acquire a speech impediment.  Despite occasionally confusing phone conversations, there is nothing finer for lubricating any social occasion.  Some people go with the lazy eye, a few try the periodic facial spasm, still others psychotic nervous laughter.  Don’t be fooled!  Stuttering gets the girls (which so happens to be the title of a collection of short stories that I am trying to publish which you should help me publish by becoming a publisher immediately or if you are one already writing me and telling me “hey we would love to publish your stories”) and stuttering may get boys as well (I am less informed in this particular area).

Stuttering is the wave of the future for overly awesome people everywhere and you are in luck.  For a limited time only, I am offering certified stuttering lessons.  Contact me before all slots are taken!  My talent in this area is legendary and your happiness is only a few elongated syllables away.

The Pratfall Effect while talking with Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends.  Risking your life to rescue strangers is just piss-poor career planning if you don’t have a stutter to go along with it.

About Jer Clifton

Look up, friend. The world is too beautiful for my eyes alone. View all posts by Jer Clifton

12 responses to “Why People Like Me

  • Jer Clifton

    : ( nobody has contacted me for stuttering lessons.

  • Ben

    I can’t get enough of that screenshot of you getting interviewed by Steve Doocy. I like to imagine that you are singing the slightly surprised Steve Doocy a passionate mariachi love ballad. Keep writing cool things, friend.

  • Maureen

    1.) I never get tired of seeing this video. 2) I never even realized that you have a speech impediment 3) Even knowing it, I think it just gives the impression that you are choosing your words carefully. It adds some weight to what you are trying to say.

    • Jer Clifton

      1) awesome. 2) You are super sweet. I definitely stutter more or less in different contexts. Sometimes it can be prohibitive. 3) : ) I’ve heard this before. A friend of mine once called it “the philosophers pause” : )

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • -whit

    ho, ho , ho, you’re just baiting me, aren’t you friend? Do you give height impediments lessons as well? (The picture above of you and your awesome wife is quite misleading.)

    • Jer Clifton

      : ) Another strategy that some people use for the pratfall effect is large foreheads. It might work in regards to competence, but the the losses in regards to attracting members of the opposite sex are staggering.

      btw, I am sad that nobody has contacted me for stuttering lessons. that would have been SO funny.

    • -whit

      If there is one thing that I know you know about me it is: I know members of the opposite sex. And stuttering is the sort of harmless flaw that gets you swooped up into the arms of a girl, yes, but like a duckling with a broken wing until her parents can find a petting zoo up-state to dump you in. Yep, the stutterer may get the chick, but only because her percolating mammary glands have tricked her brain into mixing up mothering instincts with romantic affection. A good pratfall flaw keeps women nervous and you out of the friend zone, a flaw, like a large forehead, that exudes: “better try to change me quick before I crash my motorcycle street racing with professional opium pirates in Monaco.”

  • Brooke Booth

    Love it Jer! Clearly one of your VIA strengths is Humility! ;P Can’t wait to experience more of your awesomeness in Oct!

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