You May Have Fewer Friends Than You Think, and a Rutgers Expert Blames Facebook
If you're itching to feel depressed, check out the results of a study published in the scientific journal PLOS One.
It may make you question whether the people you consider to be your friends think of you the same way.
The study analyzed more than 1,300 perceived friendships among college peers, and just 53 percent were considered "reciprocal."
Dozens of college students were asked to give their classmates a score of 0-5 based on friendship, with 0 meaning "I don't know this person" and 5 meaning "One of my best friends." They were also asked to guess how the other participants would score them.
And while the subjects predicted the feeling of "friendship" would be mutual 94 percent of the time, the end result was much lower — just more than half.
The study pointed to a handful of other research that reported similar findings.
Reacting to the findings, Rutgers University sociology professor Deborah Carr said social media sites such as Facebook could be blurring the lines of true friendship today.
"It's a little bit difficult to figure out the boundaries between someone who's a real friend who would help you in a jam, as opposed to someone who just simply gets your jokes online," Carr said.
Carr noted this friendship disconnect is not only a pattern among college students as seen in the survey. Adults can relate as well, simply because everyone has different definitions of the term "friend," she said.
"We all use such different criteria," she said. "Do you define it by closeness, or how often you spend time together, or how similar you are, or how many sacrifices you make for one another?"