Why Facebook friends don't count: People are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face-to-face
Talking on phone does not make people feel as good as sharing a smileStudy suggests quality not quantity of communication is most importantMost satisfying relationships 'come from handful of close friends'
23:24 GMT, 9 April 2013
23:43 GMT, 9 April 2013
A study has found there is no link between Facebook use and people with larger groups of friends or more emotionally intense relationships (file picture)
Facebook friends are no substitute for the real thing, according to psychologists.
People are happier and laugh 50 per cent more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites, a study found.
Dr Sam Roberts, senior lecturer at the University of Chester, said such websites don’t appear to help people make true friendships.
Based on two questionnaires, he found there was no link between Facebook use and people with larger groups of friends or more emotionally intense relationships.
Dr Roberts, whose work will be presented today at the British Psychological Society conference in Harrogate, said: ‘The bottom line conclusion is that our relationships are not dependent on the quantity of our communication.
‘They depend on quality and even Skype is better at increasing the quality of our communications than time spent on Facebook.’
Even talking on the phone and texting does not make people feel as good as sharing a smile, the research says.
The studies suggest quality not quantity of communication is most important for keeping friends for life.
People find the most satisfying relationships come from a handful of close friends, with an outer ‘ring’ of 10 significant others.
With these people, it doesn’t matter what type of social media you use for communication.
But people who want to ‘contact the world at large’ using Facebook are doomed to disappointment because they spread themselves too thinly, claim researchers.
In a third study he asked people to interact with friends face-to-face or via Skype and keep a 14-day diary.
This was compared with interacting via phone, instant messaging, text messages or social network sites.
People interacting face-to-face or on Skype were 50 per cent more likely to laugh, and they rated themselves as significantly happier.
People are happier and laugh 50 per cent more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites, the study found (file picture)