One of the ways we sort thing is by putting them into categories of “sameness” or “difference.”
Let’s say you go to a new restaurant, let’s say an Italian place, that you’ve never been do before.
Maybe it just opened up, or maybe you discovered it on a roundabout way home from work.
Anyhow, there you sit. You’ll automatically go into it with your favorite Italian restaurant in mind.
One thing that the human brain hates is uncertainty. The less uncertainty, the better. So when you walk into a new place or experience, your brain is busily finding references to help you out.
What happens next differs from people to people.
If you sort by “sameness,” you’ll automatically and unconsciously notice all the things about the new restaurant that are similar to your familiar one.
If you sort by “difference,” you’ll automatically see everything that’s different.
Which is better? It depends.
If sort by sameness, and your date or partner is sorting by differences, it can seem confrontational.
If you’re sorting by differences, and you find stuff that’s different, but better, but your date or friend or partner or whoever is sorting by differences, but she finds stuff that’s worse, you won’t have such a good time.
Just understanding that these filters exist can help out a great deal. Instead of just reverting to your automatic “set point,” try and consciously ask yourselves these questions next time you’re in an unfamiliar environment or situation:
What’s similar to stuff I’ve done before?
What’s different than stuff I’ve done before?
How is this situation better than stuff I’ve done before?
How might this situation be worse than stuff I’ve done before (and how can I minimize that)?
Is there anything here that I can learn that might help me later?
Try this, it only takes a couple second, and it’ll give you a new perspective.