Most of us consider our friends to be some of the best people we know. After all, we did choose them. However, some of us might find that a handful of out friends are, well— a little meaner than others. Now before you start reconsidering their value to you, you might want to keep reading. According to new research, your meanest friends might actually just have your best interest in mind.
Mean friends. Researchers at the University of Plymouth have recently discovered that your meanest friends might just be the ones who care about you the most. Yes, they might be a little harsh, but at the end of the day, they just have your best interest in mind.
Study. According to the New York Posts, the researchers who participated in the study surveyed 140 different people and asked them to answer questions about hypothetical situations. Those who were more blunt to their friends were also the ones who wanted to see their friends be successful.
Examples. “We identified several everyday examples where this might be the case — for instance, inducing fear of failure in a loved one who is procrastinating instead of studying for an exam,” said researcher Belén López-Pérez, as reported by the New York Post.
Intentions. There is a difference, however, between friends who are mean because they want the best for you, and those who are mean because they want to make you feel bad. For instance, a good friend might tell you not to date someone because they know they’re bad for you, but a bad friend will tell you not to date that person because they may secretly be plotting to steal that person from you.
Expectations. “People hold very specific expectations about the effects that certain emotions may have and about which emotions may be better for achieving different goals,” said López-Pérez.
Tough love. So why exactly did the researchers do this study in the first place? They wanted to get down to the bottom of how “tough love” works, and why people use it to get their point across.
Dynamics. “These findings shed light on social dynamics, helping us to understand, for instance, why we sometimes may try to make our loved ones feel bad if we perceive this emotion to be useful to achieve a goal,” said López-Pérez, as reported by the New York Post.
Jealousy. Unfortunately, your mean friends may not always have your best interest in mind. Some of them may genuinely be jealous of you, and will lash out in the form of passive aggression, or talking badly about you behind your back.
College. According to Psychology Today, women are the most aggressive towards one another during their college years. In fact, women tend to steer clear of the women they find “sexually promiscuous.”
Attitudes. “Research shows that women during the college years may have negative attitudes about particular types of other women. Vrangalova and colleagues (2013) found that female college students were less likely to want to be friends with another female who was seen as sexually promiscuous, when compared to the rate for male college students who wanted to be friends with a promiscuous male peer,” reported Psychology Today.
Threat. For the most part, women tend to be the most cut throat when they feel left out. The threat of not being included is so overwhelming that they will try their best to find someone else to be excluded.
Excluded. “According to the study, women may be more sensitive than men to social exclusion, and when they feel threatened by the prospect of being left out, a woman’s first response may be to socially exclude a third party,” writes Seth Meyers for Psychology Today.
Inadequate. Lastly, Meyers points out that women tend to lash out against other women because they themselves may be feeling inadequate. As a result, they are mean to others and point out flaws in them that they may secretly see in themselves.
Be kind. At the end of the day, it’s important to learn to love yourself so that you can learn to love others. And remember, when a friend is mean to you, try and find out the real reason why. If it genuinely seems like they’re just trying to help, keep them around. If they’re just looking to hurt you however, it may be time to cut ties.
You. What do you think of this research and these findings? Do you believe there is truth in this? Be sure to let us know what you think!