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You're not alone in feeling alone: Believing you have fewer friends than your peers can contribute to unhappiness -- ScienceDaily

The researchers found a greater proportion of students (48 per cent) believed other students had made more close friends than they did. Thirty-one per cent believed the opposite. A second survey tracking 389 students across their first year found students who believed their peers had more friends at the beginning of the year reported lower levels of wellbeing. However, several months later, the same students who thought their peers had moderately more friends than they did at the beginning of the year reported making more friends compared to students who thought their peers had many more friends. "We think students are motivated to make more friends if they think their peers only have one or two more friends than they do," said Whillans. "But if they feel like the gap is too big, it's almost as if they give up and feel it isn't even worth trying."

To lose weight, and keep it off, be prepared to navigate interpersonal challenges -- ScienceDaily

"All 40 of the study participants reported having people in their lives try to belittle or undermine their weight loss efforts," Romo says. "This negative behavior is caused by what I call lean stigma. However, the study found participants used specific communication strategies to cope with lean stigma and maintain both their weight loss and their personal relationships." The communication strategies fell into two different categories. The first category focused on study participants helping other people "save face," or not feel uncomfortable about the study participant's weight loss and healthy eating habits. The second category focused on damage control: participants finding ways to mitigate discomfort people felt about an individual's weight loss and related lifestyle changes.

Birds of a Feather Do Flock Together. - PubMed - NCBI

We argue that the lack of evidence for personality similarity stems from the tendency of individuals to make personality judgments relative to a salient comparison group, rather than in absolute terms (i.e., the reference-group effect), when responding to the self-report and peer-report questionnaires commonly used in personality research. We employed two behavior-based personality measures to circumvent the reference-group effect. The results based on large samples provide evidence for personality similarity between romantic partners ( n = 1,101; rs = .20-.47) and between friends ( n = 46,483; rs = .12-.31). We discuss the practical and methodological implications of the findings.

How many friends can you have?

The Dunbar number is actually a series of them. The best known, a hundred and fifty, is the number of people we call casual friends—the people, say, you’d invite to a large party. (In reality, it’s a range: a hundred at the low end and two hundred for the more social of us.) From there, through qualitative interviews coupled with analysis of experimental and survey data, Dunbar discovered that the number grows and decreases according to a precise formula, roughly a “rule of three.” The next step down, fifty, is the number of people we call close friends—perhaps the people you’d invite to a group dinner. You see them often, but not so much that you consider them to be true intimates. Then there’s the circle of fifteen: the friends that you can turn to for sympathy when you need it, the ones you can confide in about most things. The most intimate Dunbar number, five, is your close support group. These are your best friends (and often family members). On the flipside, groups can extend to five hundred, the acquaintance level, and to fifteen hundred, the absolute limit—the people for whom you can put a name to a face.

Pain tolerance predicts human social network size : Scientific Reports

What's the 'real' context for friendship? (Is FB year round now?)

A commemorative friend is not someone you expect to hear from, or see, maybe ever again. But they were important to you at an earlier time in your life, and you think of them fondly for that reason, and still consider them a friend. Facebook makes things weird by keeping these friends continually in your peripheral vision. It violates what I’ll call the camp-friend rule of commemorative friendships: No matter how close you were with your best friend from summer camp, it is always awkward to try to stay in touch when school starts again. Because your camp self is not your school self, and it dilutes the magic of the memory a little to try to attempt a pale imitation at what you had.

Friendship as an idiom

Hanging out with a set of lifelong best friends can be annoying, because the years of inside jokes and references often make their communication unintelligible to outsiders. But this sort of shared language is part of what makes friendships last. In the longitudinal study, the researchers were also able to predict friends’ future closeness by how well they performed on a word-guessing game in 1983. (The game was similar to Taboo, in that one partner gave clues about a word without actually saying it, while the other guessed.) “Such communication skill and mutual understanding may help friends successfully transition through life changes that threaten friendship stability,” the study reads. Friends don’t necessarily need to communicate often, or intricately, just similarly.

Friends collaborate better in work

Friendship groups performed significantly better than acquaintance groups on both decision-making and motor tasks because of a greater degree of group commitment and cooperation. Critical evaluation and task monitoring also significantly increased decision-making performance, whereas positive communication mediated the relationship between friendship and motor task performance.

Friends at work

In surveys across three countries, Americans reported inviting 32 percent of their closest colleagues to their homes, compared with 66 percent in Poland and 71 percent in India. Americans have gone on vacation with 6 percent of their closest co-workers, versus 25 percent in Poland and 45 percent in India.

Friends at Work? Not So Much

In 1985, about half of Americans said they had a close friend at work; by 2004, this was true for only 30 percent. And in nationally representative surveys of American high school seniors, the proportion who said it was very important to find a job where they could make friends dropped from 54 percent in 1976, to 48 percent in 1991, to 41 percent in 2006.

Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well). Continue reading the main story Recent Comments CT February 19, 2015 As the mother of an autistic child with a brilliant, very alive mind I thank you deeply for helping open minds to all of the wonderful human... Nightwood February 19, 2015 Dear Dr. Sacks. Some people say there are no miracles in this immense universe. Still, some how you popped up and became a walking, two... Diane McIntyre February 19, 2015 Dr Sacks, you are-- and have been-- my hero. Live with verve. See All Comments I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends.

Three personality types

There are three basic attachment types: Secure, anxious and avoidant. Secure people, roughly 55% of the population, had parents who were consistently caring and responsive; these people are typically loving and comfortable with intimacy. The other 45% have an attachment style that is more problematic—either anxious, avoidant or some combination. Avoidant people, about 15% of the population, try to minimize closeness. Their parents typically were withholding or unresponsive. These folks aren't your blabbers. In fact, in interviews to determine personality type, therapists consider short, concise answers to be a marker of an avoidant attachment style. Long, drawn-out answers typically indicate an anxious type. Anxious people, who make up roughly 15% of the population, typically had parents who were inconsistently nurturing. They are overly sensitive to social cues and prone to overmanaging their personal connections. (The other 15% are a combination.)

Megaphone for what?

At the museum, Spartz waited backstage while Jake Brewer—a manager at, a platform for petitions—delivered a speech about online organizing. Brewer, who is thirty-four, warned that online activists needed to be more strategic. “The Internet has created a huge megaphone,” he said. “That’s great, but it often creates so much noise that the people on the receiving end can’t hear anything.”

Paul Panitz gets started in Hungary

Paul Panitz is a 43-year-old who created his own typesetting company and then sold it for a substantial sum three years ago, leaving him free to pursue other projects. Like many people, he was moved by last year's historic events in Eastern Europe and wanted to be part of them. He first approached me in February 1990, asking for advice on how to aid the cause of a free press in Eastern Europe. (Eventually, we made a loan-equity deal with a large daily newspaper over there, lending a fair amount of money in return for a potential stake in the company.) We also discussed setting up a small business in Hungary, not unlike the one Paul had started in America. The venture would throw us into the thick of Eastern European economic change; it would contribute some capital and jobs to Hungary's fledgling free market, and, properly run, it just might turn a profit someday.
Our guide explained that the horses, despite being extraordinarily intelligent beings, had a hard time making sense of seeing their friends appear out of nowhere, then disappear into the distance. Falling out of sight held the terror of being forever lost. My horse was calling out, making sure his friend was still there – that neither was lost. Underneath the geographic disorientation, one can imagine, lies a primal fear of losing control.
Michael Bassik, CEO of Burson-Marsteller's Proof Integrated Communications digital division, is joining MDC Partners as managing director and president of Digital Operations. Bassik will be responsible for partnering with MDC’s strategic communications firms, including public relations, corporate communications and financial communications consulting.
I do think there is a predilection for blogging among post-communist expats. In the early 1990s, Budapest and Prague attracted publishing renegades, a mini-generation of people who decided that life was too short NOT to join the adventure after the Wall came down. Once here, we couldn’t tap into any old-boy networks or climb any corporate ladders; we invented new structures, businesses and networks. We are, as a group, infatuated with revolutions. So blogging seems a natural fit for people like Ben Sullivan, Matt Welch, Ken Layne, Emmanuelle Richard, Nick Denton, Rick Bruner, you and me. Somehow, having lived outside the system, we were better able to see blogging’s unique applications. Rather than saying “gee, but this doesn’t match traditional media’s credibility or resources,” we were more likely to say “gee, but look at all the neat new things it does do.” We’ve all stayed in touch, we’ve learned from each other. I told Nick Denton about Google a few years ago and he told me about I’ll say semi-seriously that, in the long run, I think I got the better half of the trade. You take your friends more seriously than you take some case study you read in Business 2.0. Though I have to say I’m still astonished by the number of publishers, journalists, ad reps and professional writers who STILL don’t get the professional implications of the Internet. They use Google every hour, but they still don’t quite understand that nobody needs anyone’s permission to publish. A few publishers see this, but not many. I’d love to meet more publishers who get it.
Cacioppo measured brain activity during the sleep of lonely and nonlonely people. Those who were lonely were far more prone to micro awakenings, which suggest the brain is on alert for threats throughout the night, perhaps just as earlier humans would have needed to be when separated from their tribe.