Think your friends know you? Think again

January 30, 2006

Researchers conclude suggestions from our closest friends about matters of taste, such as movies or restaurants, may not be as helpful as we think they are.

University of Michigan and Columbia University scientists say people tend to overestimate personal information they get from close friends more than comments from acquaintances.

"Think your friends know you pretty well? Think again," write Andrew Gershoff of the University of Michigan and Gita Johar of Columbia University. "We make our worst estimates for our closest friends. This is important because it affects how willing we are to rely on our friends' advice and word-of-mouth recommendations."

Why do we think our friends know us better than they really do? One explanation, according to Gershoff and Johar, is the high regard protects the relationship, at least in our minds. "To maintain our self image we want to believe we are important to others, particularly to others we care about. So when we think about our close friends, we are more motivated to think they know us well compared to our less close friends, and so we overestimate more for our close friends."

The study will appear in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Using AI, citizen science and disaster response to help victims of Hurricane Irma

Related Stories

You're not alone in feeling alone

September 14, 2017

Feel like everyone else has more friends than you do? You're not alone— but merely believing this is true could affect your happiness. A new study from the University of British Columbia, Harvard Business School and Harvard ...

Recommended for you

Filter may be a match for fracking water

September 25, 2017

A new filter produced by Rice University scientists has proven able to remove more than 90 percent of hydrocarbons, bacteria and particulates from contaminated water produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations ...

With extra sugar, leaves get fat too

September 25, 2017

Eat too much without exercising and you'll probably put on a few pounds. As it turns out, plant leaves do something similar. In a new study at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, scientists show ...

Towards pesticidovigilance

September 25, 2017

A fascinating insight paper, "Towards pesticidovigilance" published in Science today by Dr Alice Milner, Lecturer in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway and Professor Ian Boyd (School of Biology, University of St Andrews), ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.