Psychology

Science Says Facebook Likes Won't Make You Feel Better

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You know that moment when you take a photo so flattering that you can't wait to make it your Facebook profile picture for all to admire, and—most importantly—like? Even though we definitely agree on your striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie, according to science, waiting for those likes to roll in is doing you more harm than good.

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Lose The Likes

For a preliminary study presented in 2017 by Dr. Martin Graff at the University of South Wales, 340 volunteers completed questionnaires designed to assess personality. They were also asked to rate how much they agreed (or disagreed) with statements such as "the attention I get from social media makes me feel good" and "I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get." The researchers then analyzed the results to determine what relationship certain personality traits had with social media attitudes.

Dr. Graff's results were pretty eye-opening. According to the press release, people who go out of their way to get likes (by asking or paying for them) are more likely to have low self-esteem and harbor trust issues. Ever delete a post because it didn't get enough likes, or make a photo your profile picture because of how many likes it would receive? Sorry—the same may be true of you. Those extra hits of approval don't even do much to fix the situation. "The results also showed that receiving likes didn't actually make people feel any better about themselves or make them feel better when they were down," according to the press release.

Get A Lift Without Likes

This was a small study but, as Dr. Graff explains, "the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively." As tempting as it is to track the likes on your hot new selfie, there are better ways to boost your mood. If you want a shot of self esteem, try calling a friend or loved one who thinks you're the bee's knees. If you're just feeling down, try drawing, listening to music, or taking a walk in nature—or even around the block. Likes may seem like the path to happiness, but as research shows, they're a dead end.

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