Think of yourself as a social butterfly with a huge circle of friends? You might want to think again. According to a new study published in The New York Times, most of our friends don’t like us as much as we think – not great news for people who worry about what other people think of them.
The research shows that we’re actually really rubbish at judging whether people we consider friends think of us as friends, too. What’s more, we think that our perceptions of our friendships is accurate 94% of the time, when in reality we’re only accurate 53% of the time. So, you know, pretty bad at knowing who our real friends are. Either way, it doesn’t matter: It’s OK not to be liked by everybody.
According to psychologist Robin I.M. Dunbar, speaking in The New York Times, we do tend to jump the gun a bit when it comes to considering people our BFF. ‘People may say they have more than five [friends] but you can be pretty sure they are not high-quality friendships’ he said. ‘There is a limited amount of time and emotional capital we can distribute, so we only have five slots for the most intense type of relationship.’ When you think about how much time we spend on social media, it’s not surprising that we might feel like we have loads of friends (when in reality we don’t).
Ultimately, these results aren’t too much to worry about: It seems that we’re not great judges of what a good friendship actually is because we aren’t all on the same page when it comes to what friendship means to us. So, how can we possibly all see friendship the same way, when we don’t all have the same definition of a “friend”?
Maybe we’ll hold fire on posting in the group WhatsApp for a little while, though…