New research suggests casual check-ins might mean more than we realize. Do you underestimate how much your friends would like hearing from you?
Calling, texting or emailing a friend just to say “hello” might seem like an insignificant gesture — a chore, even, that isn’t worth the effort. Or maybe you worry an unexpected check-in wouldn’t be welcome, as busy as we all tend to be.
But new research suggests that casually reaching out to people in our social circles means more than we realize.
- “Even sending a brief message reaching out to check in on someone, just to say ‘Hi,’ that you are thinking of them, and to ask how they’re doing, can be appreciated more than people think,” said Peggy Liu, Ben L. Fryrear Chair in Marketing and an associate professor of business administration with the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business.
- She noted that many people feel awkward about reaching out due to a phenomenon known as the “liking gap,” or the tendency to underestimate how well-liked we really are. People may also hold themselves back because of a similar phenomenon known as the “beautiful mess effect,” which suggests that when we are vulnerable with others, we worry we will be judged harshly. That kind of negativity bias tends to run through all aspects of friendship, Dr. Franco said, and can have a tangible impact on how we behave and interact.
- But friendship experts like Dr. Franco say they hope the findings will underscore the need to connect with others on a daily basis, and encourage people to see friendship as an important component of personal health, even if reaching out sometimes feels awkward or time-consuming.
Source: NY Times