High school can be pretty lame, full of dumb followers and the teachers who admired their popularity. But all because someone in school has a bunch of friends doesn’t make that person happy. Perhaps, their search for status and short term rewards is a way to fill up their own hole of sadness. One study revealed that it was students who only had a few close friends who were more likely to be happy rather than those popular punks.
What is this study telling us? Basically, quality matters over quantity. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have. It matters who you have as friends and how close those people are to you. Even one good friend is better than a flock of sheep that will scatter at the first sign of a wolf.
The University of Virginia conducted the study over a 10-year period. They followed 169 high school students, all starting at age 15, and from diverse racial and economic backgrounds. During this 10-year period, each subject was asked in-depth questions on their social anxiety level, social acceptance, and self worth. Researchers were trying to identify symptoms of depression within their subjects.
This study was published in the bimonthly peer reviewed academic journal Child Development. The results revealed a correlation between adolescent friendships and long-term mental health. Another discovery was that popularity did not guarantee happiness. Researchers based their subject’s popularity level on asking them to list their top ten peers from top to bottom, regarding who they would want to spend free time with.
Results of the study revealed that subjects who were ranked “most liked” were not happier than students who were considered “unpopular.” Achieving long term happiness was much more consistent with maintaining close friendships for long periods of time.
“Youth with higher levels of attachment to their best friends appear to have better psychological health, psychosocial adjustment, and even a more adaptive stress response during adolescence,” the study authors said. “In general, adolescents with high-quality close friendships report higher rates of overall happiness than those without.”
From ABC News:
Teens who put an emphasis on “gaining or maintaining their peer affiliation preference rather than focusing on forming stronger close friendships” did not fare as well in the long-term. The authors said those teens may be have been more focused on status and short-term rewards or relationships, which do not have the same positive long-term emotional benefits as being in a reciprocal, positive friendship.
Welp, that settles it. Don’t be upset, kiddo. The well-liked students who were ultimate jerks are probably miserable f*cks as we speak/type. A few close buddies is much better than a gang of lackeys who will turn on you in an instant.