It’s easy to be a serial “liker” on Facebook, where you just scroll through your feed and give mindless thumbs-ups to statuses about last night’s game and photos of your coworker’s dog.
But likes only go so far. If you really want to be a good friend, spend a couple extra seconds commenting on your buddy’s post, says new research from Carnegie Mellon University.
In the study, researchers analysed the activity of nearly 2,000 Facebook users over several months.
People who received personalised comments from close friends reported improvements in their moods, life satisfaction, and stress levels.
In fact, the researchers found that when participants received 60 comments in a month, they experienced a short-term happiness boost on par with how people feel after they have a baby, says study author Dr Robert Kraut.
But regular likes don’t cause the same mood spike. It’s like receiving a generic Hallmark card versus a handwritten note on your birthday, says Kraut: A personalised card provides proof that your friend truly cares about you, which makes you feel better.
Your note doesn’t need to be anything elaborate, Kraut says; most Facebook comments are one or two sentences at most.
So instead of liking that picture of your friend’s new Mustang, write a comment about how much you dig that particular model. Your two cents just might make his day.