Social networking software

Facebook Friends Stressing You Out?

Having lots of friends on social network Facebook can make web users feel stressed, say researchers from the Edinburgh Napier University.

Research by psychologists at the university revealed nearly a third (32 percent) of social networkers experience feelings of guilt and discomfort when rejecting friend requests, while 63 percent delayed responding to them and 10 percent admitted disliking receiving friend requests.

According to Dr Kathy Charles, who headed up the research, "the results threw up a number of paradoxes."

"For instance, although there is great pressure to be on Facebook there is also considerable ambivalence amongst users about its benefits," she said.

"Our data suggests that there is a significant minority of users who experience considerable Facebook-related anxiety, with only very modest or tenuous rewards."

The research also highlighted that those with the most contacts of Facebook and those who had invested the most time in the site were the ones most likely to be stressed.

"An overwhelming majority of respondents reported that the best thing about Facebook was 'keeping in touch', often without any further explanation," said Charles.

"But many also told us they were anxious about withdrawing from the site for fear of missing important social information or offending contacts.

Charles likened the social network to gambling, saying: "Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good."

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See also: How Facebook mucks up office life

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