We all have that one friend who is brutally honest and is always screaming at you to get things done or is giving you an opinion you may not like. You may feel that he/she doesn’t care about how you feel but actually, this is the friend who probably wants the best for you.
According to a study by the University of Plymouth, some people believe that inducing negative emotions may motivate you such that you take action to achieve the desired result.
For example, a friend who criticizes you for wearing a particular dress that may not look nice on you does it because she wants you to look your best. She doesn’t criticize you to make you feel bad about it. Or if a close colleague gives you feedback about your work, it is because he wants you to improve.
In the study, 140 respondents were asked to execute tasks in a gaming system in pairs. A group of them were asked to empathize with their partners while the others were asked to remain detached. The results showed that the group of participants who induced emotions performed better than the other group.
Psychological scientist Belén López-Pérez stated, “We have shown that people can be ‘cruel to be kind’ — that is, they may decide to make someone feel worse if this emotion is beneficial for that other person, even if this does not entail any personal benefit for them.” So next time you get criticized by your “meanest” friends, know that they most likely have your best interests at heart.
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