"The presence of a friend while shopping enhances significantly more apprehension than shopping alone," says one psychological study out of the University of Montreal. "The presence of a shopping pal, either a friend or a family member, draws the other shopper from his or her routine processes, makes them more cognitively and emotionally alert, which explains the strengthening of the relation with the shopping environment.
"It also enhances a shopper’s apprehension of being evaluated and controlled," scientists say. "Conversely, when shoppers are alone, they are more likely to reduce their inhibitions and make impulse purchases and even not to tell the truth about their purchases."
Translation: Shopping with a friend will help you curb impulse buys. And if you hit up your favorite department store with a shopping buddy, chances are you'll make more sensible purchase decisions.
In your experience, do you think this research holds up? I'm a terrible shopper, in general—either I know exactly what I want when I walk into a store, or I'll take forever making a decision. But if I shop with a friend, I hardly ever buy anything at all, because I'm more focused on the social aspect of hanging out than making a purchase. Tell us what you think in the comments!