The basic premise of the psychological theory known as the Pratfall Effect is that making clumsy mistakes or blunders (“pratfalls”) can make you more attractive.
For example, if you trip over in front of that cute guy/girl you have your eye on, it will only endear you more to them.
As a perpetually clumsy person myself, this is the news I’ve been waiting 30 years to hear.
However, there’s an important disclaimer – the Pratfall Effect only works if you’re perceived as competent or intelligent to begin with.
In other words, the attractiveness of a “superior” person is enhanced if they commit a pratfall (because it ‘humanises’ them), whereas the same mistake made by a so-called “mediocre” person tends to make them less attractive.
For example, when acclaimed actress Jennifer Lawrence trips up the stairs at awards shows, we love her more. She’s endearing, relatable and ‘just like one of us’.
By contrast let’s imagine that President Trump – widely considered incompetent – were to trip up the stairs before giving a public address.
I highly doubt many people are going to feel all warm and fuzzy about it, or consider his mistake ‘adorable’.
So what’s the take-away message?
Don’t be scared of being clumsy, it will make you more likeable.
In fact, displays of ineptitude might be your new best pick-up technique … as long as the person you’re trying to impress doesn’t already think you’re totally incompetent…