Reaching Out to Old Friends and Mental Wellbeing
Could hearing from an old pal boost your mental wellbeing?
If you’ve ever wondered why you feel relief or an odd sense of peace when an old friend from your hometown, high school, or your previous workplace reaches out for no apparent motive, there’s a reason for that. So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your mental wellbeing, keep reading.
Many people are instantly worried when an old friend seemingly reaches out for no reason. The rise of multi-marketing companies, internet scams, and Ponzi schemes have made many people wary of a classmate from high school suddenly DM’ing them or calling them to know about their lives.
But, when the APA undertook a study titled “The Surprise of Reaching Out: Appreciated More Than We Think, what they found was surprising. The study determined that participants who reached out to someone in their friend circle to greet them kept underrating how much the other person appreciated hearing from them. Our texts, emails, or even calls to old friends to ensure they are doing well positively affect their health.
Over 5,900 people participated in the study, with many experiments pointing toward the friend who received the message placing high importance on the surprise social interactions. In some experiments, participants sent a short present, a small note or a gift to someone in their social circle whom they had not messaged or heard of in a while. Those who began contact had to rate on a 7-point scale the extent to which they thought the recipient would appreciate the connection, and the recipients would also be asked to rate their appreciation.
There’s a reason for that. Humans are social beings: even the most introverted or shy person you know needs a social connection to thrive. Most people know that bit of information but aren’t aware of how much keeping social connections is healthy for our mental and physical health.
People tend to worry about reaching out to others to get in touch as awkward as they are scared of how others might receive the gesture. The study proves that others are likely to appreciate being reached out to more than they think.
Mainlining connections in one’s social circle is essential to well-being, and life often provides people opportunities to connect through social media and instant messaging. If you want to assist an old friend who might need help and improve your health while doing so, it might be time to whip out your contacts list on your messenger app of choice and contact them. And, there’s always Facebook and Instagram if you don’t have their numbers.