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We don't know our friends as well as we think!

A study says that people tend to overestimate personal information more in close friends than in acquaintances.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 11:54 IST

A recent study has found that people tend to overestimate personal information more in close friends than in acquaintances.

The study, by Andrew D. Gershoff from the University of Michigan and Gita Johar from Columbia University, compared how well people think their friends know them to their actual taste in movies and restaurants. They found that we tend to overestimate personal information more in close friends than in acquaintances.

"We make our worst estimates for our closest friends. This is important because it affects how willing we are to rely on our friends' advice and word-of-mouth recommendations," they said.

According to the researchers, one of the reasons why we think our friends know us better than they really do is because it helps people maintain an image of themselves.

"To maintain our self image we want to believe that we are important to others, particularly to others we care about. So when we think about our close friends, we are more motivated to think they know us well compared to our less close friends, and so we overestimate more for our close friends," they said.

The study will be published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 11:54 IST