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An In Depth Look at Friendships


friendship

COURTESY OF GUEST BLOGGER: Nic East, Jim Thorpe Artist & Co-Owner of Hill Home Forge B&B www.niceastdesign.com



In our Human social culture almost all of us tend to interact. A big part of our socialization consists of friendly relationships. Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is based upon trust.

Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an simple association, which is thought to be more “arms length” or businesslike. Friendship has been studied in academic fields such as sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy.  Many academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity (transactional) theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles such as infatuation. A World Happiness Database study found that people sharing close friendships are happier.

Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship. Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, altruism, honesty, mutual understanding and rapport, charity and compassion, enjoyment of each other's company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Best Friends are naturally “co-supportive”. Many friendships are also based on shared interests like art, science, astronomy, technology, nature, agriculture and many more. While there is no practical limit on what types of people can form a friendship, friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, or interests, and have similar demographics. Our notions of beauty (symmetry, lack of scarring and open personality) are foundational to a strong friendship.

Intellectual or professional friendship is more associative than emotional while a closer friendship has emotion at its foundation and currency. In the typical sequence of an individual's emotional development, friendships come after parental bonding and before pair bonding.

In the intervening period between the end of early childhood and the onset of full adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense (sexually centered) than relationships later in life. Surely the absence of friends can be emotionally damaging, especially to an extroverted person.

The evolutionary psychology approach to human development has led to the theory of Dunbar's number, proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. He theorized that there is a limit of approximately 150 people with whom a human can maintain stable social relationships.

In childhood, friendships are often based on the sharing of toys, and the enjoyment received from performing activities together. These friendships are maintained through affection, sharing, and creative playtime. While sharing is difficult for some children at this age, they are more likely to share with someone they trust and consider to be a friend. Jealousy often comes about when friendships collide. This is a “your friend vs. my friend situation”. Boys suffer least from this while sexually connected (male-female as well as same-sexed companionships) friends suffer most.

As children mature, they become less individualized and are more aware of others. They begin to acknowledge their friends' points of view, and enjoy playing in groups. They also experience peer rejection as they move through the middle childhood years. Establishing good friendships at a young age helps a child to be better acclimated in society later on in their life. Later, clubs, sororities and fraternities generate social cohesiveness among members.

To my way of thinking, friendship is at the basis of civilization while antisocial or fundamentalist behavior almost always leads to strife. Go out and make a friend today.


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