There is always the kind one – who appreciates you, the maternal one – who looks after you, the fun friend – who is there to have a good time, and the mean one – who always argues with you.
In your circle of friends, there are always the ones who take these certain roles in a group. The meanest person in your group doesn’t use soft criticism to express their thoughts. Instead, they use the toughest and meanest insults they can think of.
Well, according to a study from the University of Plymouth, the meanest friend is not there to harm you, but to toughen you up. That friend uses insults to teach you about life and show you the way. They give you tough love.
In fact, as the research claims, the meanest friend only wants the best for you. They want to help you out in the long run.
Supported by Studies
To conclude these findings, researchers involved 140 adults in their research. They asked the volunteers about hypothetical situations. Scientists used a couple of regular everyday examples to see the volunteer’s reactions and opinions.
In addition, they induced fear of failure for a loved one who is stalling instead of studying for an exam.
That loved one will do anything to avoid studying. According to the author of the research, and psychological scientist, Belén López-Pérez, this can be the perfect way to see how one would react in that given situation.
Therefore, the person who used insulting criticism to convince their friend to accomplish their task, only wanted their friend to succeed. In this case, the meanest person just wanted their friend to study and pass the exam.
This study can help us understand why we use insults and heavy criticism to convince a loved one to achieve their goal. Moreover, the study shows that we perceive this emotion (of being mean) to be useful, added López-Pérez.
Example of Direct Criticism
This study shows us that our meanest friend only wants the best for us. Their love may be tough to handle, but, they seem to care about us the most. Therefore, you shouldn’t be angry with the way your meanest friend reacts.
Maybe, you should try listening to their direct criticism. Here are some of the most common examples of direct criticism.
- That dress looks hideous on you. It simply doesn’t suit you.
- Why on earth are you eating more chocolates when you said you wanted to lose weight?
- You could have done that job much better.
According to the research, the friend who says these things to you is likely the one who is most empathetic. Therefore, they only want you to succeed and accomplish whatever you desire. But, the only way they know how to help is to criticize you.
They believe that the only way they can make you believe in yourself is to insult you. As a result, you shouldn’t get angry every time you get into an argument with your meanest friend. After all, whatever they have to say, they say it to your face.
The meanest friend will never talk behind your back. They will always tell you what’s on their mind.