Here's a reason to accept that Facebook friend request from that creepy-looking stranger! A new study published in the National Academy of Science says that people who have strong networks on social media and receive a lot of friend requests are less likely to die.
The study's authors William Hobbs and James Fowler took data from 12 million Facebook users in California in 2011 and compared it to records from the California Department of Public Health in 2012 and 2013 to see how many died.
The authors found a link between the users' social media accounts and their physical health. “We find that Facebook users who accept more friendships have a lower risk of mortality, but there is no relationship for those who initiate more friendships,” they wrote. “Mortality risk is lowest for those with high levels of offline social interaction and moderate levels of online social interaction.”
While no specific reasoning was given for why accepting friend requests might help you live a healthier life, Hobbs thinks that people are more likely to stay friends in person when they have "moderate interactions" on Facebook. The researchers also noted that face-to-face social media interactions (like sharing a photo) had more of a benefit than just sending messages.
So if you've been sitting on friend requests from that creepy guy from your freshman year Psych class or your racist uncle or that girl from spin class who isn't kidding when she describes things as "so fetch," go ahead and accept them. They might help turn you into an immortal superhuman. Worth a shot, right?