We Have Friends on Facebook and Everywhere Else, But Are They the Kind We Need?

Jamil Zaki and Sylvia Morelli: On social media, people tend to advertise how well things are going for them. We post pictures of vacations with friends or joyous times with smiling children, not grinding days at work or toddler tantrums. By projecting happiness, we might make ourselves more likable and enjoyable to be around, and attract lots of acquaintances. But our research suggests that if you want to build closer, more-sustaining bonds, empathy is a better place to start. By sharing others’ experiences and showing that you care, you can connect more deeply and create a circle of close and trusted friends.

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