Experts also aren’t perfect and new research shows that people have a sense of when to value nonexpert opinions over experts. In fact, some experts admit to using intuition themselves. A study revealed that marriage therapists acknowledge using their intuition and consider it a valuable tool in clinical settings.
Deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement?
Perhaps with the value of instinctive evaluation in mind, famous baseball statistician Bill James created the “Keltner List.” Named for a seven-time All-Star with borderline qualifications, the list was devised as a way to help assess a player’s Baseball Hall of Fame viability.
Even though James is a statistician, the Keltner List is intentionally nonscientific. Rather, it’s a collection of 15 questions that anyone can quickly answer to help guide an overall assessment of a player’s worthiness for the Hall of Fame. (Think: “Was he the best player on his team?”) The answers are not meant to provide a definitive conclusion, but rather to force a careful consideration of the most important information.
Back to relationships. A similar process can help you determine whether your current romantic partner belongs in your relationship Hall of Fame. Inspired by the Keltner List concept, I’ve put together a list of 15 questions to highlight what matters most. Like the Keltner List, my approach to relationship assessment is intentionally not scientific and has not been tested empirically (though that isn’t a bad idea for future research).
That said, as a relationship scientist, I couldn’t help but use science as a guide. In crafting each question, I consulted the existing research to ground it in the science of what contributes to a healthy relationship. Note that this list isn’t about helping you pick the best Tinder date, hookup or short-term fling. The questions focus on what matters for serious, long-term, committed, sustainable love. To benefit from this exercise, you need to be honest. If you’re lying to yourself, you won’t gain any insight. As computer programmers say, “garbage in, garbage out.”
A Keltner List for relationships
Consider each question and answer truthfully with a simple yes or no response:
2. Are you and your partner both comfortable with sharing feelings, relying on each other, being close, and able to avoid worrying about the other person leaving?
4. When disagreements arise, do you and your partner communicate respectfully and without contempt or negativity?
5. Do you and your partner share decision-making, power and influence in the relationship?