A message without a reason?
The joy of spontaneous contact is often underestimated
Sending a message or calling a friend or acquaintance out of the blue without any reason? Researchers say that this triggers much greater joy than one might think in advance. Especially when a very specific thing is given.
Published: 21 minutes ago
According to a study, it is underestimated how happy people are when friends and acquaintances contact them unexpectedly. (archive image)
According to a new study, simply sending friends or acquaintances a message or calling them triggers more joy than you might have thought before. People underestimate how much such gestures are valued, researchers led by Peggy Liu from the University of Pittsburgh write in the journal “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”. The more surprising the call, e-mail or text message comes, the more the gesture is appreciated by the recipient.
“Humans are social creatures and enjoy connections with other people,” says Liu. “There’s already a lot of research showing that maintaining social connections is good for our mental and physical health.
People are more happy about spontaneous contact than they thought
But despite the importance and joy of social connections, our research shows that people grossly underestimate how much other people will appreciate if we contact them.”
For their research, the scientists led by Liu a series of experiments with a total of more than 5900 participants. For example, they were asked to remember the last time they contacted someone just like that – and when they were last contacted just like that.
In addition, they were asked to rate on a scale from one to seven how much they thought the contact person valued this gesture – and how much they themselves valued being contacted. In other experiments, the participants were asked to contact acquaintances themselves and collect their reactions.
The research results showed that doubts or worries about surprising contacts are mostly unfounded, says Liu. “For many reasons, I sometimes hesitate before reaching out to people I dealt with a lot before the pandemic. When that happens, I think about that research and remind myself that other people might want to contact me and be hesitant for the same reasons. Then I tell myself that I would appreciate it so much if they would contact me and there is no reason they would not appreciate it if I did.” (SDA)