In the era of #squadgoals, having a full crew of buddies to flaunt on Facebook and Instagram is vital.
But a study has shown that the number of real friends you have could actually be a lot less than you think. In fact, research suggests that half the people you would consider a friend would not count you as a friend back. Pretty brutal, huh?
In the study – which was published in PLos One – psychologists asked 84 college students in one class to rate every other person on a scale from one to five, with one meaning ‘I don’t know this person’ and five meaning ‘one of my best friends.’ If a student classed another as a three or higher, the researchers counted this as the student seeing this other person a friend. The students were then asked to also estimate what they thought the other person would rate them.
94% of students ranked their number and what they thought the other person would put equally, meaning the majority of the group assumed their friendships were mutual. However, only 53% of the friendships were actually reciprocated, so in 47% of cases one person in a partnership considered the other a friend, while the other person didn’t class them as a friend back. Awkward…
To check their results were accurate, the researchers looked at previous surveys on friendship, and found similar answers. In fact, their 53% result of returned equal friendship was actually the highest, with the lowest survey results they came across from other studies at 34%. Depressing or what?
So, in laymens terms, what does mean? Well, half the people you consider to be your mates probably don’t feel the same way back. Sorry everybody for this self-esteem crushing news.