March 9, 2023
A study recently conducted at Oklahoma State University found that both women and men prefer when their friends are “vicious” toward their enemies.
The study, published in Elsevier’s Evolution and Human Behavior, explained that “the benefits of friendship depend, in part, on how much one’s friends value oneself relative to others; and thus that a friend’s behavior toward others can influence one’s own outcomes.”
Researchers surveyed 1,183 individuals in student and non-student communities in the United States and non-student communities in India to analyze what behaviors they prefer in a same-sex best friend.
Participants were asked to rate how much they would like to see certain behaviors like kindness, trustworthiness, viciousness, indifference, exploitative behavior, similarity, physical proximity, familiarity, and impartiality in a conflict in a best friend from a scale of one to seven.
The results suggested that—while people generally want friends to be kinder and more trustworthy—they sometimes prefer friends who are “more vicious,” or at the very least, indifferent toward their enemies.
People also cared a bit more about how nicely their friends treated them versus how they treated strangers.
The experts said this is because these people behave in ways that “maximize the friendship benefits” by both supporting their friends and undermining their rivals.”
Previous research has shown that “people believe they can be harmed when their enemies benefit—and benefit, when enemies are harmed.”
Researchers note that this aligns with why most people chose to have friends — for “preferential support.” ,Most people look for a ride or die who will choose them over others, help them knock their enemies down, and who will also uplift them.
Research contact: @nypost