Why We Think We're More Attractive Than Our Friends, According To Research

Apparently, everyone thinks they're the hot friend.

best friends on a boat together Stefano Oppo | Canva

We love our best friend. That person is there for us when we're heartbroken, when we've had too much to drink, and when we're lonely. But are people able to set aside their competitiveness for their BFF?

Research answers with a big resounding no.

Most people think that if a handsome stranger came across them and their best friend in a bar, that stranger would pick them.

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In 2015, Skout, the leading global platform for meeting new people, had 3,306 people fill out a survey about their best friends. They found that 52 percent of men and 62 percent of women think they are more attractive than their partners in crime.

You may think this is a sign of immaturity, but the effect actually gets stronger with age. Skout found that people in their 40s lead in saying their best friend isn't as good-looking as them.

Is this meant to be a positive or negative thing? Self-confidence for the win. On the other, not everyone can tell the truth.

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So, what could be the reason for this? It’s all about how people view themselves, says Kelly Tonelli, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Irvine, California. She says we typically see our friends the way the rest of the world does but have a biased perception of the way the world sees us.

Why do we see ourselves differently from the way the world sees us? It’s because we formed a rough idea of what we looked like when we were younger and held onto that idea. As a result, we may think we look younger, fitter, and more attractive than we actually are because we created those self-image perspectives at a time when we probably were.

And that's not all. Many men consider their best friend to be a woman, not a man.

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The survey showed that 40 percent of men have a female best friend. But the feelings aren't mutual. Women seem to still relate more to other ladies since 66 percent of women say a fellow woman is their BFF.

There's also good news. Distance doesn't break many friendships. The survey found only 47 percent of people live in the same town as their best friend, 24 percent of people have a best friend who lives far away, and 7 percent of people's BFFs are in a completely different country.

Well, at least not everything about friendships is superficial! Hopefully, this is a sign that people just have a lot of self-confidence, and it's not a sign of being mean.


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Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.