Let's face it: Humans like to whine. And not just about serious stuff, like our faltering Internet connections or our favorite shows being delayed for stupid news bulletins about stupid hurricanes. We're talking about really petty stuff, like IKEA furniture and office meetings. Even more pathetic? Science has discovered that we've been frontin' the whole time. Some of the very things we love to complain about are things we actually secretly enjoy. Things like ...
Is there any bigger waste of time? The vast majority of work meetings are a bunch of hungover drones pretending to understand PowerPoint presentations while earnestly contemplating whether or not we'd be able to beat Gary in accounting to death with our stapler and leap out of the window before the police arrived.
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A question that rests mainly on whether we could resist the urge to also take out Travis in HR.
But According to Science ...
We love those hastily assembled slide shows and awkward suck-up questions (lookin' at you, Gary). According to a study by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, while the topic and subject matter may bring us down, we get all giddy inside at the prospect of human contact that meetings bring with them.
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Once you start building emotional bonds with the faces on your solitaire cards, it's probably time to see real people.
In a survey conducted by Professor Steven Rogelberg, 69 percent of workers reported that their last meeting was "good." Weirder, half of those workers confessed that they regularly complain about meetings, but most of those complainers also grudgingly clarified that they actually enjoy their meetings when they happen, or at the very least don't mind them.
So what the hell is going on? Why does everybody seem to love the chore that Dilbert built a career on disliking?
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Don't answer, teleconferencers. We all know how you spend meetings.
As it turns out, we just don't hate our fellow men as much as we purport to. Well, most of them, anyway (still lookin' at you, Gary). Rogelberg theorized that most people only complain about meetings because saying you like them is pretty much akin to committing office social suicide. It is well established that hating meetings is the thing to do, and who are you to say otherwise? Some kind of rebel? Some kind of play-by-his-own-rules, sexy, meeting-loving rebel? Is that tie paisley? Who do you think you are, buddy?
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A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Then why are those obnoxiously precocious cartoon instruction manuals from IKEA so detestable? Plus, the furniture is a ridiculous pain in the ass to put together. Why, if IKEA wasn't so much cheaper than a regular furniture store, or if Jim's Discount Housefillins served dollar meatballs, you'd never put up with this kind of thing.
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"If they can make good meatballs, why not credenzas?" -the world, apparently
But According to Science ...
As it turns out, it's exactly because we have to assemble it ourselves that we love IKEA furniture. Science has even come up with a term for the phenomenon: the IKEA effect.
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The crap you make yourself is always the most meaningful crap.
Not the most daring name, is it? Well, maybe Science was too busy quantum freezing light beams to take "creative naming" classes in college. Maybe you, with your liberal arts degree, can take your complaints up with the Mars Rover -- you know, the thing that roves all over Mars, thanks to Science.
Ahem. We digress.
In this study, researchers gave half the participants IKEA storage boxes that they had to assemble themselves, while the other half were given pre-assembled versions. Afterward, they asked the participants to estimate how much they would pay for their box. Those who had to build their stuff not only placed more value on the items, but also became more attached to them and wanted to show them off to others -- even if they did an objectively shoddy job putting the pieces together and the whole thing was smeared in their own blood after they mishandled the BjurkenSabre in Step Fljorn.
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Building a living room isn't always a smooth process.
In a subsequent study, scientists concluded that people like self-assembled goods more, because the very process of putting them together helps the builders feel more competent overall.
"Sure, sure," you might be thinking, "some people are just the do-it-yourself type. Some people love that shit: All birdhouses and shell art on the weekends. Not me, though. Me, I'd prefer my furniture to come pre-assembled and not covered in the impotent tears of my own frustrated fury. I don't want a project; I just want a fucking chair."
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"NOTHING LESS WILL SATISFY ME."
Hey, don't get pissy with us: Take it up with Science. Even those who were reportedly uninterested in DIY projects ended up finding more value in the unassembled furniture. No matter how terrible the result is, or how illogical the response may sound, if you build it, you will love it. We imagine it's the same reason parents love their identical twins, no matter how plainly evil and soulless those creatures may be.