According to the results of a 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study, you’re lucky if half the people you consider a friend even actually like you.
The subjects were asked to rank how close they were with each person in the class on a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 means “I do not know this person,” 3 means “Friend,” and 5 means “One of my best friends.”
The researchers found that while 94 percent of the subjects expected their feelings to be reciprocated, only 53 percent of them actually were.
The study is of course limited because of its tiny sample size, but as Kate Murphy reports for The New York Times, the results are consistent with data from several other friendship studies from the past decade, comprising more than 92,000 subjects, that put reciprocity rates at 34 to 53 percent.
It wasn’t always this hard. When we’re kids, the concept of friendship is pretty simple, as the kids from everyone’s new favourite show, Stranger Things, spell out:
A friend is someone that you’d do anything for.
You lend them your cool stuff, like comic books and trading cards.
They never break a promise.
And, most importantly, “Friends don’t lie.”
But in adolescence through to adulthood, things aren’t so simple – especially when we’ve got social media pushing friendship as a commodity, which is pretty much the exact opposite of how you’re supposed to think of them.
Read the rest if the study’s findings here and watch “How Many Friends Can You Have,” below.