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Popular People Are Basically Invincible, Says Science

Apparently having a massive crew is akin to doing morphine.
Photo via Flickr user Leon Landmesser

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Having too many friends can be stressful: It's always someone's birthday, your phone is in a constant state of being blown up, and your credit card feels the pains of having to order the Uber XL way too often. Rolling deep can have its benefits, apparently, other than looking intimidating as fuck when you show up to a party: A recent study out of University of Oxford has shown that having a massive crew can increase your tolerance to pain.


"Social behavior and being attached to other individuals is really important for our survival—whether that is staying close to our parents, or our offspring, or cooperating with others to find food or to help defend ourselves," Katerina Johnson, who worked on the study, told the Guardian.

That survival mechanism manifests itself in the biochemical process in our brains that, according to the study, is helped along by having a large social network: an increased amount of endorphins binding to opioid receptors. Elevated endorphin levels have been directly linked to pain tolerance. The result of the increased endorphins, Johnson says, "[has] been shown to be stronger than morphine" in an equivalent dose.

For the study, the researchers used 101 people who were between 18 and 34 years old. Participants were given a questionnaire, and they had to give information about how many friends they kept in contact with on a weekly and monthly basis. For the pain-testing portion, they had to do wall sits and were asked to hold that position for as long as possible until they felt it was too painful.

The next time people tell you that they prefer to have a small, close-knit group of friends over a large one, just remember that they're probably salty that they aren't becoming some sort of superhuman with each new addition to the squad.

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