08/23/2016 11:37 EDT | Updated 08/23/2016 11:59 EDT

Half Of Your So-Called 'Friends' Don't Even Like You: Study

This is depressing, but could it be true?

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You may be telling them your deepest, darkest secrets, but science suggests some of these people we call friends may not even like us.

According to a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, only half of the people in your friend circle actually like you, the New York Times reports.

“People don’t like to hear that the people they think of as friends don’t name them as friends,” MIT researcher Alex Pentland told the newspaper.

Oh and if you're wondering about all those Facebook friends, they aren't considered your real friends either.

Looking at a small sample size of 84 subjects between the ages of 23 and 38, the researchers asked each subject to rank each person in their business management class on a scale of 0 to 5, Science Alert reports. Zero meant you did not know this person while five indicated you were best friends.

At least 94 per cent of subjects expected their answers to match their classmates, but only 53 per cent of them were the same.

Pentland told the Times people may not have answered in the way others have wanted because the definition of the word "friendship" is often unclear. He often hears silence or answers like "er" or "um" when he asks people to define it.

But before you start making a list of people you think don't feel the same way, may we remind you the selection size of this sample was quite small and there are many factors that define friendship.

A previous study in June suggested most of us start losing friends at the age of 25, and by the age of 39, women on average stayed close with 15 people (as opposed to 17.5 in their 20s).

If we take that study into account, it means that many of us start to disconnect with people as we age and make smaller, stronger friend circles, therefore this idea that half of these people may not like us may be false.

And if you're wondering what actually makes someone a close or best friend, The Telegraph has come up with a test for you and your friends to try out. For example, if you tell this person secrets your own partner doesn't know or know the gritty details of their family life, face it — this is your best friend.


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