A new app called “pplkpr” is designed to help you recognize unhealthy relationships in your life.
By measuring your emotions via a heart-rate monitor, the app figures out which friends stress you out more often than they make you happy. Then it manages your social life so you don’t hang out with them anymore.
Toxic friends, after all, can literally make people sick. And it can be hard to recognize less-than-healthy relationships when you’re in the middle of them.
The app also tracks positive emotions, and automatically invites the friends you like to hang out more often. It pairs with a smart watch that monitors heart-rate variability—a known measure of stress—and uses a custom algorithm to crunch that data and determine your mood. If you’re noticeably emotional, the app pings you afterward to ask what was going on and who you were with. Over time, it charts which friends are making you happiest or most crazy.
In a week-long user test, college freshmen who tried the app seemed to find it useful. (“Maybe I shouldn’t hang out with Mark,” one student says in this video. “Maybe he’s kind of a dick”).
It Really Does Pay to Be Nice — Growing Research Links Friendship and Success
Related: The Benefits of Having Friends in the Office (Infographic)
Over the past few decades, researchers have gathered compelling evidence that meaningful connections are vital to our psychological and physical well-being. As I describe in a new book on the science of top workplace performance, studies also suggest that feeling close to our colleagues is essential to being effective at work.
When we feel connected to our colleagues, we can pay less attention to whether or not we’re fitting in and direct our full attention to actually doing our work. We experience less anxiety in the face of setbacks and perceive greater support from those around us. We’re also more willing to ask for help when we need it, which gives us more resources for achieving our goals.
Still not convinced? Then consider what happens when people feel isolated from their colleagues on a daily basis. They experience loneliness, which can have a crippling effect on the human body, beyond regular work hours. Lonely people have more stress hormones coursing through their bloodstream, take longer to relax and struggle falling asleep. That is why extended bouts of loneliness can bring about memory and learning deficits.
Related: How Office Friendships Could Affect Your Bottom Line
Meet your competitors.
It seems counterintuitive, but chances are you have a lot in common with rivals. After all, you’re both doing the same for a living.
Meeting informally (say, for coffee) can be surprisingly fruitful on a personal level and almost certainly valuable on a professional level. It may lead to a referral in the future, and is likely to get you thinking of new business ideas.
Studies show that exercise can lift your mood, improve your creativity and boost your memory, benefiting your work in more ways than one.
Related: How Important Your Workplace Friendships Are Depends on Your Age