According to a neuroscience study published in Nature Communications last week, close friends are people who have similar neural activity.
In the study, each participant underwent MRI scans while they watched movies on topics ranging from politics to music to science. From the data, scientists determined that close friends were likely to have very similar reactions to whatever they were watching. Even distant friends of friends had more similar reactions than strangers. And the closer the friends were, the more similar their reactions were.
The study concluded that “we are exceptionally similar to our friends in how we perceive and respond to the world around us, which has implications for interpersonal influence and attraction.”
And because of friends’ similarities in “perceiving, thinking about, and reacting to the world,” we're thinking that will also make them the ideal people to join on a vacation.
A close friend may likely be a person who will want to experience the same new destinations as you. And, upon arrival, they may have similar reactions. While this doesn’t mean that a trip with a close friend is guaranteed to go smoothly — after all, friends can still lollygag in the airport, get food poisoning during a meal, and forget their passports — a friend is likely to appreciate the same things you do and interpret them the same way, be that an art museum, a sports match, or a relaxing day on the beach.
If you’re seeking travel inspiration, send Travel + Leisure’s guide to great trips to take with friends to your entire group chat.