If for you, feeling like an unpopular high school kid missing out on all the best parties has now morphed into feeling like an unpopular grown-ass woman experiencing FOMO at not being invited to brunch, we’re here to tell you: Relish your outsider status, because being different can pay off in huge ways. You might relate better to The Breakfast Club than your frenemy’s exclusive breakfast club, but when you’re not worrying about it, you can embrace what makes you, you. Not to mention how the “outsider” effect can inspire some inspiring and award-winning creativity.
According to new research, the health benefits of accepting your place in your social sphere aren’t just mental. By studying the behavioral patterns of rhesus macaque monkeys, researchers at the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis found that uncertainty about social rank (which they determined based on a variety of behavioral cues, because monkeys don’t get their self-worth from Twitter faves) put the primates at higher risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So that toxic friend group you’re always feeling weird about? It might literally be unhealthy for you.
And interestingly, it wasn’t just the monkeys with low social status that showed signs of poor health. Uncertainty of social rank, at any level, was the biggest determining factor. Meaning the monkeys most at risk weren’t the ones going, “Whatever, no one wants to share bananas with me today,” but the socially anxious ones who were constantly like, “Do the other monkeys even like me? I hope they like me. What if they don’t like me?” (But, you know, in monkey-speak.)
Now for sure, your social network isn’t the same as a rhesus macaque monkey’s (hopefully). But even though you’re not swinging from branches and flinging your poo at your friends, this research does open up questions about how social hierarchy impacts our health as humans, and suggests that science really needs to start looking into it — and that you need to stop freaking out every time you lose an Instagram follower.
How do you deal with social anxiety and feeling like you don’t fit in? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!