The relationship between friends is fierce. It can withstand storms, distance, and silence. Best friends are the ones we turn to when life seems too difficult to bear. They're the ones who make life memorable, and they're the one's we have the most fun with. So what qualities make for a good friend? Loyalty, trustworthiness, and honesty are certainly at the top of the list, but did you know that new research has shown that curiosity is also an important quality of friendship? It's true. Studies prove that those of us who are curious are "viewed in social encounters as more interesting and engaging; they are also more apt to reach out to a wider variety of people." Think about it. if you're in a group and someone asks about your passion, saying cooking. You answer by explaining how cooking makes you feel and why it's important to you. Would you drawn more to the person who then only smiles and says, politely, "That's nice" or to the person who is genuinely interested and asks a lot more questions? Curious people want to know what makes everything, and everybody, "tick." They have an innate thirst for knowledge.
Here's how science is proving that curiosity can improve all of your relationships.
1. Curious people connect better. "Curiosity involves the motivation to experience novelty." Given that, it makes sense that someone who is curious might be better at connecting with strangers. Current research shows that being curious - being interested- is more important in cultivating and maintaining friendship (or any relationship) than just being interesting. Curiosity gets the dialogue going.."it's the secret juice of relationships," says Todd Kashdan, a noted relationship researcher. Curious people feel closer to their partner and friends, than those who are less curious. Interestingly enough, curious people are better at reading others. They are more accurate in picking up verbal and non-verbal cues from others. The quality of curiosity can definitely help make you a better friend and more open to connecting with others...even strangers.
2. Curious people can cope with rejection better. Curiosity helps us deal better with negative social situations. One study in Japan has shown that when a curious person gets socially rejected, they were less likely to experience a reduction in their overall life satisfaction, than those who are less curious. Although they're not quite sure why, scientists believe that curiosity allows us to recover more quickly from social rejection - an experience that can often feel devastating. Curious people, too, tend to be less depressed in general.
3. Curious people tend to be less aggressive. Curious people, research shows, feel less aggressive toward those who have caused them hurt feelings. It is believed that curiosity is connected to perspective-taking. Curious people are more motivated to learn and understand various viewpoints and, thus, are less apt to judge others. Being curious can help with conflicts.
4. Curious people enjoy socializing more. In research studies, it was discovered that curious people rate higher in social situations than less curious ones. Curious humans experience more positive emotions in their conversations...no matter what the topic is. Curious people tend to exhibit greater "positive emotional expressiveness, initiation of humor and playfulness, unconventional thinking, and a non-defensive, noncritical attitude than their non-curious counterparts. Studies point out that curious people bring many positive qualities to their social interactions, making those interactions more favorable for everyone, Curious people make good friends and good dinner/party guests.
The big question, then, is can curiosity be enhanced? Can you learn to be more curious or is it a fixed trait? No one really knows for sure, but research expert Todd Kashdan. believes that it's possible. He says that the old saying, "Fake it till you make it" can apply to curiosity, as well. He suggests starting with asking lots of open-ending questions...questions than require more than a simple yes or no answer. Curiosity, like anything, can be difficult. It often requires that we interact with those who may look, think, or act differently from us. But giving in to these obstacles can result in more remorse than in more happiness.
Being curious means being interested...not just in certain things, but in having a genuine interest to learn more about the things that we may think we don't like, or understand. We many not be able to change our happiness just by turning a dial, but we can change our curious mindset. We can make ourselves more curious, even if it's just in the moment.
Today is Best Friends Day, So become a better best friend. Ask more questions, be genuinely interested in learning more about your BFF. No matter if you've known your "bestie" forever, or they are more recently acquired, let them know how special they are. Best friends are one in a million, Celebrate your friends today and don't forget to use #BestFriendDay on all your social media.