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I’ve Got A Good Feeling About Those Two

February 7, 2011

Do you remember Princess Diana’s wedding? Enormous white dress, an endless train, a perfect princess? Yeah, me neither. I was one. Although sometimes I do feel like I was there. I can even tell you where I was when I saw the ceremony on TV–in the basement at the house I grew up in, in a sleeping bag on the floor. But like I said, that’s impossible, because we didn’t even move into that house until I was 13. ANYWAY, right, didn’t witness it. But I was certainly alive 4  months ago when Wills proposed to Kate.*

I mean, let’s be clear about something: I am definitely into the Royals. I am totally going to be one of those crazy old biddies who collects Hello! Magazine  and newspapers from the day of the wedding. And obviously I’m hoping to pick up my very own Kate and Wills pre-wedding souvenirs when we’re in England for our honeymoon–you know, like a waste paper basket with their faces framed in gold on it or a tea cozy or something. And if money were no object I’d most certainly fly over and perch myself in some tree to watch the whole thing unfold.

So you can imagine my great joy when I noticed a way to relate my passion for the Royals to my normal dorky-stuck-in-a-dank-university-computing-lab life. I was watching (ok, rewatching) the delightful interview with the newly engaged pair on youtube, when I noticed Prince William engaging in the very behavior I study–invisible support. It’s like he knew I’d be watching! The basic idea behind invisible support is that it’s like really subtle support that kind of flies under the radar–so much so that the person receiving it probably doesn’t realize they’re being supported. It doesn’t look or feel like one person providing support to another person. It’s more like the supporter makes supportive information available to the supportee on the sly.  . . wanna see what I mean?

If you don’t want to watch the entire interview–although I can’t possibly imagine why you wouldn’t–skip to about 12:40, and watch as the evil interviewer asks Kate how she feels about filling Princess Diana’s shoes. After Kate does her best with the evil question, Wills steps in and first attributes an eloquent response to Kate and then assures him that Kate will do a great job. Totally invisible support in action. Clearly, it’s meant to be.

*There is actually a whole body of psychological research on this phenomenon as well, called flash-bulb memories, but that’s a story for another time.

Note: In my completely unroyal geeky research I find that this kind of support is associated with reduced anxiety, sadness and anger and increased sense of competence in couples.

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