Be The First To Text: Study Says That Friends Appreciate Getting Contacted Unexpectedly

By Francis Tunwase

According to a recent study, people regularly underrate the value of unexpected social gestures made by people they know. In fact, the more shocking the “reaching out” is, the more people seem to appreciate it. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of social connection maintenance on psychological and physiological well-being.

However, this new study reveals that people vastly underestimate how much others like receiving a text, despite the necessity and pleasure of social connection.

Image courtesy of @wildlittlethingsphoto / Pexels

The study’s authors ran multiple trials with almost six thousand people to arrive at this result. They were curious about people’s ability to accurately predict how much others might value an effort to connect. Half of a group of people in an experiment were asked when they last reached out to someone they knew “simply because” or “just to catch up” after a long time had passed since they had last spoken.

On a scale from one to seven, participants were asked to rate how much they thought the other person appreciated the gesture. Half of the participants were asked to think of a time when someone reached out to them, and the other half were instructed to do the same.

They also used the same seven-point scale to express how much they valued, appreciated, felt thankful for, or were delighted by the interaction.

Image courtesy of @franciscovenancio / Unsplash

Participants who were asked to recollect making contact felt their effort was much less appreciated than those asked to recall receiving a message. The researchers refer to this difference as a significant underestimate of the value of reaching out to others.