Hang On Tight to Your ‘Mean’ Friends, Science Says They’re the Keepers

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Every once in a while, it’s good to take stock of your friends and make some cuts, if necessary. As we get older, we realize that it’s quality, not quantity, that matters in a friendships and relationships. Maybe you have a friend who consistently lets you down. Or someone who always needs you, but is nowhere to be found when you need them. When you’re paring down your circle, you may want to keep this in mind: according to a new study, your mean friends are the ones you should keep around.

Image: Giphy

Now, there’s a difference between ‘mean’ friends who’re being honest with you, and mean friends who’re just bitches. The key is in distinguishing between the two.

According to a new study published in Psychological Science, making people feel negative emotions can be good for them in the long run. We’ve all heard the saying, “cruel to be kind”. And as it turns out, there’s a lot of truth (and science!) behind it. Inducing negative emotions in others, if it’s done altruistically, can be beneficial.

So how can someone be mean to be nice? It’s like when you ask your friend for advice about your job, and she tells you what you NEED to hear, even if it’s bad, and not what you WANT to hear. Sometimes the best advice is the advice that elicits a negative response.

Now, a friend who is just a straight-up bitch? She’s not being mean to be nice. Say you ask a friend how you look in a dress, and she says, “Great!” And then, hours later after you’ve been out in the dress, feeling like hot shit, she tells you, “Oh, that dress actually makes you look kind of fat”, well. She’s not being altruistic, or empathetic, or at all helpful. People who cut you down to build themselves up are not the ‘mean’ friends you need to keep around. Kick those bitches to the curb.

Real friends look out for your feelings, but most importantly, they also look out for your best interests. Sometimes, hurting your feelings is the only way to fulfill that part of friendship. As long as they’re coming from a place of love for you, and not hurting you to make themselves feel better, that’s the kind of friend you want to keep around.

(Image: Facebook/Mean Girls)