Each volunteer also filled out a questionnaire giving the number of people they met regularly. "They also commented on the complexity of each relationship. For example, one friend might also be a boss, meaning the person had to adapt their behavior with the person depending on the nature of their encounter," reports the Guardian.
Last year, researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.