A student may do better in the harder class than in the easier one. A smaller audience is less likely to ask questions of the presenter than a larger group's audience would be. The individuals who need guidance the least are inclined to seek it the most. The highly skilled applicant is less likely to put the boss at ease than an applicant of average talent. The friendly but distant chief executive can evoke greater loyalty than one who is friendly and one of the gang.
Life is filled with examples that foil our expectations.
What have you noticed?