Science Says You're Unlikely to Enjoy New Year's Eve

'High expectation can lead to disappointment'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2015 4:21 PM CST
Science Says You're Unlikely to Enjoy New Year's Eve
Children: Still naive enough to think New Year's Eve can be fun.   (Steve Bloom/The Olympian via AP)

New York Magazine humbly submits that you cancel any and all New Year's Eve plans and instead stay home, watch some Property Brothers, and conk out early. That's because studies have shown it's nearly statistically impossible to not be disappointed by big New Year's Eve plans. In a 1999 study, behavioral scientist Dan Ariely and a team of researchers interviewed 475 people about their New Year's Eve plans and how much fun they thought they were about to have. After the big night, 83% of them reported being disappointed by the festivities. “High expectation can lead to disappointment, and that spending time and effort (and perhaps money) into an event can increase dissatisfaction,” the researchers wrote in a followup paper in 2003.

That followup paper concluded that the bigger the plans—like going out for an epic evening on New Year's Eve—the less satisfied people ended up, New York Magazine reports. Obviously people with no expectations of an exciting New Year's Eve weren't very disappointed with whatever ended up happening. As another behavioral scientist, Paul Dolan writes: "And you know that about nights out on the town: the best ones tend to be unplanned. In the end, expecting to be very happy is probably a surefire way of not being so.” If you're still not convinced, let John Oliver explain why this holiday "is the worst." "New Year's Eve is like the death of a pet," the comedian says in a new video. "You know it's going to happen, but somehow you're never really prepared for how truly awful it is." (More New Year's Eve stories.)

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