When you think someone else doesn’t like you, do you call her just to chat or invite her out to drinks? Probably not. But what would happen if you did? In this study, researchers asked volunteers to treat subjects as if they liked them, no matter their real feelings.

‘Faking it’ created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Volunteers ended up truly liking the subjects they were only pretending to like. And when researchers questioned subjects themselves, they liked the volunteers who pretended to like them! Not surprisingly, the reverse was true for those who believed that the volunteers disliked them.

Why? Subjects who believed they were liked were more open and intimate in conversation, so the volunteers followed suit, and the conversation was fulfilling for both people. On the flip side, subjects who believed they were disliked were more disagreeable, which led to a less satisfying interaction.