Do you truly get excited when long-lost friends call? It’s not just you. According to a recent study, people frequently underestimate how often their former friends will value hearing from them unexpectedly.
People like hearing from old acquaintances
Researchers discovered that respondents consistently underestimated how much their friends would enjoy hearing from them when they made a call, sent a text, or sent an email to a person in their friend network only to say hi. However, the friend who received the message valued the unexpected social connection much more.
Lead study author from the University of Pittsburg, Peggy Liu, said, “People are fundamentally social beings and enjoy connecting with others. There is much research showing that maintaining social connections is good for our mental and physical health. However, despite the importance and enjoyment of social connection, our research suggests that people significantly underestimate how much others will appreciate being reached out to.”
The study included many trials with more than 5,900 participants to examine the elements influencing how appreciative a person feels when someone contacts them.
In one study, the researchers asked 50% of the respondents to recall when they last got in touch with a friend or acquaintance “simply because” or “just to catch up” after a long time had passed. The remainder of the group used a different strategy, recalling a time whenever a long-lost acquaintance had contacted them.
People love surprises from old friends
In a different study, the subjects sent a quick note or a little gift to a friend they hadn’t seen in a long time. The team had to assess on a seven-point rating, similar to the previous study, how often they believed their buddy would value this surprise.
The team then asked the receivers to assess how often they valued getting a present from an old acquaintance after the respondents had received their notes and presents. Once more, the surprise recipient put a considerably higher value on the relationship than the present giver.