Your ‘Meanest’ Friend Is Actually Your Best Friend, New Study Says

September 27, 2017

best friend

We all have that one friend who can oftentimes be too mean and whose words can sting like nobody else’s. Well, it seems that those harsh (but most likely TRUE) words are the ones you shouldn’t be avoiding.

That’s right! One recent study published in Psychological Science suggests that your meanest friend is actually the one who loves you in a most genuine way and wants the best for you.

The researchers say that “people may try to make someone else feel negative emotions if they think experiencing those emotions will be beneficial in the long run.”

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People Can Be ‘Cruel To Be Kind’

The research was conducted by the scientists over at The University of Plymouth and it observed the behavior of 140 individuals in numerous hypothetical situations. One of these situations included generating the fear of failure to a friend who is procrastinating instead of studying for an important exam.

We are all familiar with this situation, you will agree…

The study confirmed that people sometimes tend to be cruel in order to be kind and induce a change in someone’s behavior.

“We have shown that people can be ‘cruel to be kind’ — that is, they may decide to make someone feel worse if this emotion is beneficial for that other person, even if this does not entail any personal benefit for them,” says psychological scientist Belén López-Pérez, who conducted the research while at the University of Plymouth and is currently at Liverpool Hope University.

“What was surprising was that affect worsening was not random but emotion-specific,” López-Pérez added.

“In line with previous research, our results have shown that people hold very specific expectations about the effects that certain emotions may have and about which emotions may be better for achieving different goals.”

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