Thank you, friend

How do you make new friends? Do you rely on your charm and charisma? Maybe it is your new perfume or cologne that wins people to your olfactory wiles? Perhaps you rely on a common interest in Lithuanian novel s of the 1980s? Whatever your friend making strategy you can add to it the simple method of saying “Thanks” because new research shows that gratitude is a powerful way to make new friends.

The new study involved university students who were enlisted to tutor high school students. The high school students were actually part of the experiment and after the tutoring session they gave their tutor a card. In 50 per cent of the cases that card expressed gratitude by saying, “Thankyou SO much for all the time and effort that you put into that for me!”. In the rest of the cases the cards did not express gratitude.

The researchers found that the tutors who were thanked were much more likely to provide contact details like an email address or mobile phone number to the high school student. The high school students who showed gratitude were also rated as having warmer personalities by the tutors.

This suggests that gratitude elicits friendship and it is an example of the find-remind-bind theory. This theory holds that gratitude helps you develop new relationships (find), build on existing relationships (remind), and maintain both old and new relationships (bind).

While “find-remind-bind” is not new, this study was the first to show that gratitude facilitates the formation of new relationships between previously unacquainted people.

Instead of worrying about the manipulative objective of how to make friends and influence people, perhaps you would be better off thinking about how to make friends by thanking people.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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