UNIVERSITY PARK, PA– A new study conducted by the Department of Sociology at Penn State has found that simply texting the word “STOP” can be an effective way to unsubscribe not only from marketing texts, but also friendships. These findings could prove invaluable to millions who report unwanted frequent communication from the people in their lives. The results of the study, which consisted of 80 participants, suggest that replying to a friend’s text with a “STOP” message has a 72% chance of immediately destroying the relationship. In some instances, the initial “STOP” text was misinterpreted as a joke, or the recipient sought to open up a discussion regarding the startling curtness of the message. The study authors reported that in these cases, sending the “STOP” message several additional times was usually sufficient for complete friendship termination.
In the few outliers where the “STOP” message was unsuccessful in ceasing contact with its recipients, researchers hypothesized that capitalization may have been a factor. Some study participants failed to adhere to the all-caps guideline.
In a follow-up study, scientists are now investigating whether shouting “STOP” in-person while someone is talking may be an even more permanent solution for removing annoying people from social circles. Trials are ongoing.