Have you ever received a random text message and immediately put a smile on your face?
Did you ever notice how good it felt internally when that person check-in with you when you least expected? Even more so if you received that text message during a rough patch in your life?
Well, there are new studies that suggest that there is a scientific reason for this.
The American Psychological Association published a study that highlights the importance and impact there is in reaching out to people on a casual basis.
Whether it's a phone call, a text message, an email, just the simplest gesture that takes effort on your part, could play a meaningful role in having a positive impact on the receiver's day.
Involved in conducting this study was Peggy Liu, an associate professor of business administration with the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business, and she says that these simple actions lets people know that you are thinking of them throughout your day, and therefore it is more appreciated than you think when that gesture is made on your part.
“Even sending a brief message reaching out to check in on someone, just to say ‘Hi,’ that you are thinking of them, and to ask how they’re doing, can be appreciated more than people think,” said Peggy Liu, lead author of this research study.
Dr. Liu and her team of researches ran a span of 13 experiments including over 5,900 participants, to study what type of social interactions are considered the most powerful to them.
In some of those 13 experiments, some participants checked-in with people they considered as a legitimate friends, and other participants reached out to someone who they considered more of an acquaintance than a legitimate friend. And those who made the initiative of reaching out was asked to rate how delighted their friend or acquaintance were to hear from them.
Those who participated in reaching out during this experiment say they were surprised with how much the receivers were delighted to hear from them. According to the study, the people that were the most surprised by being reached out were the ones who had not been in recent contact with the individuals who initiated the communication.
Marisa Franco is psychologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of Maryland and also author of forthcoming book “Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make — and Keep — Friends.” Dr. Franco says that many people feel hesitant to initiate any contact due to the the so-called liking gap, which is described as "the gap between how much we think another person likes us and how much they actually like us."
However, Dr. Franco says that these studies could hopefully help people to see how important it is to have a healthy connection with people on a daily basis as an important component to our personal health.
“To be functioning at our best, we need to be in a connected state,” Dr. Franco said. “Just like you need to eat, like you need to drink, you need to be connected to be functioning well.”