You should reach out to old friends, says new research – Greeley Tribune

(CNN) – Looking to reach out to old friends but are nervous it will be awkward or they won’t appreciate it? You should be making those phone calls or sending a text or email, according to new research.

A study published July 11 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people often underestimate how much their friends and old acquaintances appreciate hearing from them.

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“If there’s someone you’re hesitant to contact that you’ve probably lost touch with, you should go ahead and reach out, and they’ll appreciate it a lot more than you think,” Peggy said. Liu, lead author of the study. in Marketing at the Katz Graduate School of Business at Liu University of Pittsburgh, the Ben L. Fryer Chair and Associate Professor of Business Administration.

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

Experiments found that initiators underestimated the recipient’s response to check-in.

Miriam Kirmeyer, clinical psychologist and friendship expert, said, “It’s often less about the kind of grandiose proposals we can make in our relationships and more about the little moments of letting a friend know that we care about them.” thinking.” involved in the study.

The study found that a recipient appreciated the communication more when it was surprising, such as when it was from someone the recipient did not contact regularly or when the participant and recipient did not consider themselves to be close friends, the study found. Gone.

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

Relationships, including friendships, can be one of the strongest predictors of how healthy we are and how long we’ll live, and they can boost our overall well-being.

“Small bets with this type of short reach can go a long way toward building relationships quickly, building friendships off the ground, and keeping them going over time,” Kirmeyer said.

overcoming the anxiety of being rejected

Sociologist Anna Akbari said that friendship requires nurturing. But a variety of insecurities can keep us from reaching out, said Akbari, who was not involved in the study.

To address this discomfort, pay attention to automatic thought patterns that arise when thinking about communicating with a friend, and try to push back against them, Kirmeyer said. These patterns can include thoughts that one friend cares more and puts in more effort than the other, or the belief that a friend doesn’t like you back.

Akbari said one of the common fears about reaching out is rejection. He said that when focused on the possibility of rejection, one can deprive oneself of close friendships and pleasant experiences.

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

Marissa Franco, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of Maryland and author of the forthcoming book “Platonic,” said that people can combat fear by putting themselves in their friends’ shoes and thinking about how they will feel. . How the science of attachment can help you make and keep friends.” She was not involved in the study.

Doing so can help hold back against the notion that things will get worse when you arrive, he said.

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Using social media as a way to connect

Recent research did not evaluate the effects of reaching out to social media platforms, and friendship experts have conflicting opinions about how much of a difference social media can make when communicating with an old friend.

Franco said that for those who aren’t ready to text or call their friends out of the blue, social media can be a good place to comment or give feedback.

However, social media use is not the most natural form of communication and can often lead to surface-level interactions, Akbari said.

“We mistake comments on social media posts as personal communication and connection, rather than a personal exchange,” she said.

And while communicating by text or email isn’t as impersonal as social media, Akbari recommends that people call their friends. It may feel awkward to pick up the phone and make a call, but the connection is likely to be more genuine, she said.

He said that the younger generation has become accustomed to communication which does not happen in real time. As a result, they may feel performance anxiety while picking up the phone.

“If we’re on the phone or face-to-face with someone, we’re having a conversation,” Akbari said. “You can answer. I can say something. There’s no delay in ‘I’m going to think about it,’ ‘I’m going to do exactly the right thing,’ or ‘If it makes me a little bit uncomfortable’ I can easily opt-out.'”

Not quite ready to call? Write a gratitude letter, said Harry Rees, professor of psychology and dean in the arts, sciences and engineering at the University of Rochester. He was not involved in the study. According to a 2021 study by the Journal of Applied School Psychology, the practice of gratitude has been shown to lead to “solid and secure social relationships.”

Take Time to Evaluate Your Friendship

Akbari said this new study may help to calm the anxiety that people face when making contact with friends. Since the primary way to reach people is through private means of communication, the worst that can happen is that the recipient doesn’t respond, she said.

Akbari said of the lack of response, “You get the answer for how that person perceives you.” “You shift your attention to someone else who will appreciate more, who will be reciprocal.”

Friendships can sometimes feel one-sided, where one person feels like they’re making all the effort, Kirmeyer said.

Kirmeyer has noticed that many customers are becoming increasingly concerned that they are carrying a heavy emotional load when it comes to their friendships. However, that doesn’t happen often, she said.

“Sometimes we can overestimate the extent to which we ourselves are reaching,” she said. “It’s also important to back off a little bit, to notice those little moments when our friends are arriving.”

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