Having close friends is wonderful, but research shows that “weak tie” friendships have their own benefits, even more than strong ones. Sociology professor Mark Granovetter of Stanford University explained in a study called “The Strength of Weak Ties” that quantity is important as well in friendship. Granovetter separates friendship into two categories: strong and weak ties. He points out that weak ties help us more when it comes to learning new information.

Gillian Sandstrom, researcher at the University of Essex, also found weak ties as a good way to create a better, happier atmosphere and a greater sense of belonging. According to Sandstrom, our movements are limited nowadays due to the pandemic. Because of such, we run out of things to talk about to our friends. But this doesn’t mean we have to stop here.

As stated in Granovetter’s work, we get more information from weak ties. Sandstrom said that right now, social media is the best substitute for casual conversations, so ask your friends how they are. From there, you will eventually get ideas from them how to manage with the current situation. Starting a casual conversation is a way to show that you care without using much of your time, attention, and energy, and that is the secret behind “weak-tie” friendships.