Here’s a great excuse for your new Stranger Things obsession.
Television is the common bond that unites us all—whether you’re eagerly awaiting the Gilmore Girls revival or can’t stop thinking about the Game of Thrones finale, you know the power of a great show to bring people together. While binge watching has its consequences, a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests it might actually be good to share a TV show with your partner.
The study specifically looked at how shared media interests—including TV shows, movies, or books—helped to strengthen relationships where partners didn’t share many mutual friends. The researchers looked at college students who had been dating their partners for at least four months. Each couple filled out a survey about the relationship quality, how many mutual friends they had with their partner, and how much time the couple spent on shared activities every day. Researchers found that shared social circles predicted strong relationships—obviously—but a "shared media experience" had a similar effect.
According to the study’s abstract, a common TV show may “allow people to compensate for lacking a shared social network in the real world.” So, yes, you can claim that Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and the gang are your actual friends. (Need a good place to start? Here are 18 Real Simple editor favorites for binging, and here’s the list of the most binge-able shows on Netflix.)
The best part—while you queue up Netflix, pour yourself a glass of wine. Couples with similar drinking habits also have better odds (says science!).