It was not my proudest moment, although I very much doubt it was my worst. A couple of months ago I made the decision to stop seeing a guy I’d met on Tinder because of posts that he had made on Facebook about Brexit. He had voted ‘Leave’ and those of you who have read my posts about Brexit (and this one) will know that I was struggling to come to terms with our Brexit decision. My curiosity killed my Tinder relationship.
I am not ashamed of my decision to stop seeing the guy. I know from his ‘leave’ vote that we don’t share the same core values or identity and that a relationship would never have a future.
I am however ashamed of two things. First, I am ashamed that I learned of his ‘leave’ vote not through a conversation with him, but rather through my daily snooping of his Facebook posts and his Tweets on Twitter. Secondly, I am ashamed that I didn’t tell him that I didn’t want to see him again. I just went silent. I stopped replying to his messages and eventually he stopped sending them. I couldn’t explain that his ‘leave’ vote meant that we didn’t have a future, not even a casual one, because he hadn’t told me that he had voted ‘leave’. I had learned this through my snooping on Facebook.
I snooped daily and compulsively, knowing that his Facebook posts about Brexit would continue to anger me. I knew that the mature option would have been to talk to him and to explore his reasons for voting ‘leave’. But I couldn’t, I didn’t, I continued to snoop perhaps in some vain hope that it was all a nasty joke.
I was relieved to discover a recent study by the University of Chicago and Wisconsin School of Business which reassured me that my curiosity, even when I knew that what I would find would hurt and anger me, is only human. In a series of four experiments, behavioural scientists tested students’ willingness to expose themselves to small electric shocks to satisfy their curiosity. Electric shocks abounded and they found that the drive to discover is deeply ingrained in humans. As the review in Scientific American sums up: “The need to know is so strong that people will seek to slake their curiosity even when it is clear that the answer will hurt”.
So, while this study doesn’t absolve me of my snooping shame and it certainly doesn’t absolve me of the dishonourable way in which I ended the relationship, it does at least reassure me that curiosity is human and mine is probably not the only Tinder relationship to have been killed.
Do you have any snooping stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.