August 18, 2022


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Why you should connect with old friends

People often underestimate how much friends and old acquaintances appreciate hearing from them.

“If there’s someone you’ve been reluctant to reach out to, and you’ve probably lost touch with them, go ahead and connect with them, and they’re likely to appreciate them more than you think,” Peggy said. Liu, lead author of the study. Liu holds the Ben L. Fryrear Chair in Marketing and Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

The researchers conducted a series of 13 experiments with more than 5,900 participants to see if people could estimate how much their friends value communication with them and which forms of communication had the greatest impact. In these experiments, communication was defined as a phone call, text message, email, note, or small gift.

Experiments found that initiators significantly reduced the recipient’s reaction to check-in.

She was also not involved in the study, said Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist and friendship expert.

The study found that the recipient appreciates communication more when it is surprising, for example when it is from someone the recipient did not contact regularly or when the participant and the recipient do not consider themselves close friends.

“When you feel that sense of positive surprise, it really enhances the appreciation that you feel,” Liu said.

“These kinds of small, low-stakes stretches can go a long way toward strengthening relationships early on, and getting and maintaining friendship on the ground over time,” said Kirmayer.

Overcome anxiety about rejection

Sociologist Anna Akbari said friendships require nourishment. Akbari, who was not involved in the study, said a variety of insecurities can prevent us from communicating.

To overcome this annoyance, pay attention automatic thinking patterns This arises when you think about reaching out to a friend and trying to repel him, Kirmayer said. These patterns can include thoughts that one friend cares more about them and puts in more effort than the other, or assumes that the friend never loves you again.

Akbari said that one common concern about lending a helping hand is rejection. She added that when focusing on the possibility of rejection, one might deprive oneself of intimate friendships and pleasant experiences.

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Akbari said rejection is impossible to avoid, so learning to live with it can allow people to become more resilient.

Marisa Franco, a psychologist and associate clinical professor at the University of Maryland and author of the upcoming book “Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make and Maintain Friends,” was not involved in the study.

She added that doing so can help resist the assumption that things will go badly when she reaches out to you.

Use social media as a means of communication

Recent research has not evaluated the effects of communication on social media platforms, and friendship experts have conflicting opinions about how much social media influences when communicating with an old friend.

For those who aren’t ready to text or call their friends right away, commenting or responding on social media can be a good place to start, Franco said.

However, using social media is not the natural form of communication and can often lead to more surface level conversations, Akbari said.

“We mistake comments on social media posts as personal communication and communication, not private exchanges,” she said.

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And while communicating via text or email isn’t as impersonal as social media, Akbari recommended that people contact their friends. It may be confusing to pick up the phone and make a call, she added, but the connection is likely to be more real.

She said younger generations have become conditioned by communication that doesn’t happen in real time. As a result, they may be concerned about performance when picking up the phone.

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“If we’re on the phone or face to face with someone, we’re having a conversation,” Akbari said. “You can respond. I can say something. There’s no delay in ‘I’m going to think about it,’ or ‘I’m going to word the thing just right’ or ‘I can unsubscribe easily if it makes me the slightest inconvenience.'” “

Not quite ready to call? Write a letter of gratitude, said Harry Reese, professor of psychology and Dean Professor of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at the University of Rochester. He did not participate in the study. It has been shown that practicing gratitude leads to “durable and secure social relationships,” According to a 2021 study by the Journal of Applied School Psychology.

Take your time to evaluate your friendships

Akbari said this new study could help calm the anxiety people face when it comes to calling friends. She added that since the primary way people communicate is through private means of communication, the worst that can happen is that the recipient does not respond.

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“I kind of got your answer on how this person treats you,” Akbari said of the lack of response. “You turn your attention to someone else who will be more appreciative, who will reciprocate.”

Friendships can sometimes feel one-sided, Kiermayer said, with someone feeling like they’re putting in all their effort.

Kirmayer notes that many clients are increasingly concerned that they are carrying a heavy emotional burden when it comes to their friendships. This is not often the case, she added.

“Sometimes we can overestimate how far we ourselves have come,” she said. “It’s also important to resist it a little, to notice the little moments when our friends connect.”

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