There are two types of people in this world: those who will willingly share their food and those who are totally reluctant to do so.
I definitely fall into the latter category – I absolutely despise sharing my food. No matter how large the portion is, I just want it all to myself.
And while that famous spaghetti-sharing scene in Lady and the Tramp may seem romantic to most people (okay, it is pretty sweet), no way would you catch me parting with a spag bol even on a date.
The situation just gets worse from there on out – once you’ve gotten to the inevitable comfortable stage with someone, they’ll just start picking food off your plate without a second thought.
I’m like Joey Tribbiani from Friends. As he quite rightly said, a date picking food off your plate is “a good way to lose some fingers”.
But according to recent research, my dislike for sharing food would make me a pretty bad date. Indeed, the idea that sharing food on a date is a positive thing has now received scientific backing. This is especially the case if you are trying to develop a bond with someone or show them affection.
A study carried out by “Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences” has discovered that sharing food with someone else releases oxytocin – a hormone which is linked with the bonding process between a mother and her child. The hormone also exists in romantic relationships and close friendships.
The finding was made after a close observation of a group of chimpanzees was conducted. What the experts noticed was that the chimps’ oxytocin levels rose quite considerably when they shared food with each other. Both the animal giving the food and the one receiving it was said to have felt a very fulfilling sense of reward.
The feeling was also present in other animals and the experts said that the sharing of food leads to the development of strong social bonds and thus more offspring.
According to the study:
“Recent studies show that, in addition to humans, other social mammals [baboons, horses] form cooperative relationships between unrelated adults, which can last over months or years.
Crucially, there is evidence that individuals who maintain such cooperative relationships have more offspring than those who do not.”
“Long-lasting cooperative relationships have also been referred to as strong social bonds, which are characterized by high rates of cooperative behaviors, such as grooming and food sharing.”
This study, which initially focused on chimpanzees, is also relevant to human relationships as well:
“This link between food sharing and oxytocin found in chimpanzees may also be relevant for humans, where pro-social behaviour has often been linked to food sharing and provisioning.
In the end, the word ‘companion’, (Lat.: com [=with], panis [=bread]) may be more literal than previously thought.”
Okay, so while some of us might be very possessive about what’s on our plate, for the sake of our future romances, we should probably share a chip or two. It’s a small price to pay for establishing a bond early on in a relationship.