Don’t Read This Post Now – Wait Three Days to Do So

Sorry to make you wait three days, but you can blame good old Dan Ariely.

Dan recently received the following email:

Dear Dan,

I enjoy giving gifts to my best friend, and I was wondering which approach would be better for strengthening our friendship: giving her big gifts twice a year, on her birthday and Christmas, or giving smaller gifts more frequently? —Aubrey

And here was Dan’s response:

I suspect that giving smaller but more frequent gifts will do more to reinforce your relationship. The pleasure of receiving a gift lies less in possessing the item itself—which is exciting at first but quickly grows familiar—than in looking forward to it.

A 1987 study by the pioneering behavioral economist George Loewenstein showed that people were willing to pay more to kiss a movie star when they could wait three days, compared with kissing them immediately; they were willing to pay a premium for the pleasure of looking forward to the kiss.

Similarly, if you know that on the first of every month you will get a small gift, you can start looking forward to it and so enjoy the gift days before you get it.

In his response, Dan mentions how people prefer waiting for something as opposed to getting it right away, such as a kiss. I’m assuming the same logic would apply whether it’s seeing a play, going on vacation, or reading Borden’s blog.

So that’s why I suggested you wait three days before reading this blog, knowing the anticipation would give you added pleasure.

But I also know none of you waited three days.

So as a compromise, I waited until late at night to post this. Doing so maximized the amount of pleasure you got by looking forward to reading today’s post. And so I’ll continue to post my blogs at night, so that you can experience a full day’s worth of pleasure just waiting to read my thoughts for the day.

(And also because that’s usually how long it takes for me to come up with something to write about…)

And also consistent with Dan’s suggestion, I’ll continue to post relatively short blogs on a daily basis as opposed to longer but less frequent posts. According to Dan, this approach will reinforce the relationship I have with my subscribers subscriber.

(and also because anything beyond 500 words increases the chance of exposing my lack of any real depth on anything I write about…)

So I hope this post was worth the wait, and if not, well then I hope that at least the wait was enjoyable.

P.S. While looking more into the pleasure associated with waiting for something, I came across this iPhone app, Gudak Cam, which only lets users shoot 24 images at a time. Once they’ve run through their 24 exposures, they have to wait an hour to reload the ‘roll of film’. They then have to wait a further three days for the roll to ‘develop’ before they can see their results. The app is apparently a big hit among young women in South Korea and Japan. Nikkei reports that high-school students in both countries are enjoying both the retro feel of the app and the anticipation of waiting for their ‘films’ to develop. Some analysts in South Korea have said that people are weary of digital capture, and are looking for an experience less frenetic and instantly gratifying than provided by social media.

*image from keep calm and posters

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