From cautiously counting our annual Facebook birthday posts to seeing how many people sign our office leaving card, everybody likes to think they're popular.
But if new research from MIT is true, we should all be counting how many friends we think we have and cutting that number in half.
The study which may be more depressing than you can handle on a Monday, found that many people have a poor perception of friendship ties. This means they are unable to successfully differentiate between 'friends' and 'acquaintances'.
84 college students in the same class were asked to rate each other from zero ("I do not know this person") to five ("One of my best friends"), with three as the minimum score needed to qualify for friendship. The participants also wrote down their guesses for how each person would rate them.
Researchers found 1,353 cases of friendship, meaning instances where one person rated another as a three or higher. In 94 percent of them, the person doing the ranking guessed that the other person would feel the same way but only 53 percent of the friendships were actually reciprocal.
"These findings suggest a profound inability of people to perceive friendship reciprocity, perhaps because the possibility of non-reciprocal friendship challenges one's self-image," concluded the authors of the study.
So better start being nicer to your friends or they might not be.
From: Esquire UK.