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Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friendship has been studied in academic fields such as communication , sociology , social psychology , anthropology , and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory , equity theory , relational dialectics , and attachment styles.
Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection; kindness , love , virtue , sympathy , empathy , honesty , altruism , loyalty , mutual understanding and compassion , enjoyment of each other's company, trust , and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend.
The understanding of friendship in children tends to be more heavily focused on areas such as common activities, physical proximity, and shared expectations. They gain the ability to empathize with their friends, 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. Potential benefits of friendship include the opportunity to learn about empathy and problem solving.
Eileen Kennedy-Moore describes three key ingredients of children's friendship formation: In adolescence, friendships become "more giving, sharing, frank, supportive, and spontaneous. A study performed at the University of Texas at Austin examined over 9, American adolescents to determine how their engagement in problematic behavior such as stealing, fighting, and truancy was related to their friendships.
Findings indicated that adolescents were less likely to engage in problem behavior when their friends did well in school, participated in school activities, avoided drinking, and had good mental health. The opposite was found regarding adolescents who did engage in problematic behavior. Whether adolescents were influenced by their friends to engage in problem behavior depended on how much they were exposed to those friends, and whether they and their friendship groups "fit in" at school.
A study by researchers from Purdue University found that friendships formed during post-secondary education last longer than friendships formed earlier. Friendship in adulthood provides companionship, affection, as well as emotional support, and contributes positively to mental well-being and improved physical health. Adults may find it particularly difficult to maintain meaningful friendships in the workplace.
Work friendships often take on a transactional feel; it is difficult to say where networking ends and real friendship begins. The majority of adults have an average of two close friends. Older adults continue to report high levels of personal satisfaction in their friendships as they age, and even as the overall number of friends tends to decline. This satisfaction is associated with an increased ability to accomplish activities of daily living , as well as a reduced decline in cognitive abilities , decreased instances of hospitalization, and better outcomes related to rehabilitation.
Research within the past four decades has now consistently found that older adults reporting the highest levels of happiness and general well being also report strong, close ties to numerous friends. As family responsibilities and vocational pressures lessen, friendships become more important. Among the elderly, friendships can provide links to the larger community, serve as a protective factor against depression and loneliness, and compensate for potential losses in social support previously given by family members.
Additionally, older adults in declining health who remain in contact with friends show improved psychological well-being. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD may have difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, due to a limited ability to build social skills through observational learning , difficulties attending to social cues , and because of the social impacts of impulsive behavior and a greater tendency to engage in behavior that may be seen as disruptive by their peers.
Certain symptoms of autism spectrum disorders can interfere with the formation of interpersonal relations, such as a preference for routine actions, resistance to change, obsession with particular interests or rituals, and a lack of social skills. Children with autism have been found to be more likely to be close friends of one person, rather than having groups of friends. Additionally, they are more likely to be close friends of other children with some sort of a disability.
A study done by Frankel et al. Paraprofessionals, specifically one-on-one aides and classroom aides, are often placed with children with autism spectrum disorders in order to facilitate friendships and guide the child in making and maintaining substantial friendships.
Although lessons and training may help peers of children with autism, bullying is still a major concern in social situations. According to Anahad O'Connor of The New York Times , bullying is most likely to occur against children with autism spectrum disorders who have the most potential to live independently.
Such children are more at risk because they have as many of the rituals and lack of social skills as children with full autism, but they are more likely to be mainstreamed in school, since they are on the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum. Children with autism have more difficulty attending to social cues , and so may not always recognize when they are being bullied.
Children with Down syndrome have increased difficulty forming friendships. They experience a language delay causing them to have a harder time playing with other children. Most children with Down syndrome may prefer to watch other students and play alongside a friend but not with them, mostly because they understand more than they can outwardly express.
In preschool years, children with Down syndrome can benefit from the classroom setting, surrounded by other children and less dependent on adult aid. Children with this disability benefit from a variety of interactions with both adults and children. At school, ensuring an inclusive environment in the classroom can be difficult, but proximity to close friends can be crucial for social development.
Studies have found that strong social supports improve a persons's prospects for good health and longevity. Conversely, loneliness and a lack of social supports have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease , viral infections , and cancer , as well as higher mortality rates overall.
Two researchers have even termed friendship networks a "behavioral vaccine " that boosts both physical and mental health. There is a large body of research linking friendship and health, but the precise reasons for the connection remain unclear. Most of the studies in this area are large prospective studies that follow people over time, and while there may be a correlation between the two variables friendship and health status , researchers still do not know if there is a cause and effect relationship, such as the notion that good friendships actually improve health.
A number of theories have attempted to explain this link. These theories have included that good friends encourage their friends to lead more healthy lifestyles; that good friends encourage their friends to seek help and access services when needed; that good friends enhance their friends' coping skills in dealing with illness and other health problems; and that good friends actually affect physiological pathways that are protective of health.
The lack of friendship has been found to play a role in increasing risk of suicidal ideation among female adolescents, including having more friends who were not themselves friends with one another. However, no similar effect was observed for males. Higher friendship quality directly contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence, and social development.
The dissolution of a friendship may be viewed as a personal rejection, or may be the result of natural changes over time, as friends grow more distant both physically and emotionally. The disruption of friendships has been associated with increased guilt , anger and depression , and may be highly stressful events, especially in childhood. However, potential negative effects can be mitigated if the dissolution of a friendship is replaced with another close relationship.
Friends tend to be more similar to one another in terms of age, gender, behavior, substance abuse , personal disposition, and academic performance. In general, female-female friendship interactions among children tend to be more focused on interpersonal connections and mutual support , while male-male interaction tends to be more focused on social status , and may actively discourage the expression of emotional needs. Although males and females tend to report comparative levels of satisfaction with their friendships.
Among older adults, women tend to be more socially adept than their male peers, and many older men may rely upon a female companion, such as a spouse, in order to compensate for their comparative lack of social skills.
Friendship is also found among animals of higher intelligence, such as higher mammals and some birds. Cross-species friendships are common between humans and domestic animals. Cross-species friendships may also occur between two non-human animals, such as dogs and cats. Research by McLennan measured the heart rates of cattle , and showed that the cows were more stressed when alone or with an unfamiliar cow than they were with friends, lending support to the idea that cows are social animals, capable of forming close bonds with each other.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 13 October For other uses, see Friend disambiguation , Friends disambiguation , and Friendship disambiguation.
Ethology , Altruism in animals , and Sociobiology. Friendship and partnership Platonic love Romantic friendship Theorem on friends and strangers Womance. Retrieved 25 May Gavin May 8, An Introduction to Developmental Psychology.
Retrieved 26 September Retrieved 21 June The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: The Growth of Interpersonal Understanding: Developmental and Clinical Analyses. The Journal of Early Adolescence. University of Texas at Austin. Study shows what makes college buddies lifelong friends. The Encyclopedia of Aging: Fourth Edition, 2-Volume Set. Retrieved 27 September The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, Retrieved August 11, Friendship Quality and Social Development. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Down Syndrome Education International, n. Low-cost approaches to promote physical and mental health: Theory, research, and practice. It's time for an intervention trial.
Vol 59 7 Jul , — American Journal of Public Health. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. How cows have best friends and get stressed when they are separated". Retrieved 19 March/p>
Ask yourself if this might be the case in your life. People are usually quite open to making new friends, but they have to feel that the other person wants to be their friend too.
They assess the situation by reading the signs before choosing whether or not to try and forge a connection with that person. So, you need to be asking yourself whether you are giving off the wrong signals to those around you who might be potential friends.
Do you shun invitations to social events? Have you done so in the past? If so, you have to realize that people will soon stop asking if you keep rejecting them. They will just assume that you are either not interested or that you have better things to do.
When someone does speak to you, how do you respond? If you give blunt replies and neglect to make any attempt at prolonging the discussion, the silences will soon have them saying their goodbyes. You may also like article continues below:. Once you have figured out how you might be standing in the way of new friendships, you have to address the issues you have uncovered. As with any skill, you have to take steps to learn the basics of socializing and then practice every day to become better at it.
You should choose activities that address the particular areas you highlighted in step one. So if your independence is getting in the way of potential friendships, you should try asking for help as often as possible; start off with tiny things and build up from there. If you normally decline the offer of a quick after-work drink, why not ask if you can tag along next time your colleagues head off to the bar.
Make them generic topics like what someone did at the weekend or what their plans are for the next holiday in the calendar. Simple things like this can prolong a chat and build the first threads of a bond between you and another. There are a number of things you ought to take into consideration when trying to make new friends. A single friend is better than none. This is especially important when you first make friends with someone.
Regular contact and connection is what forges strong bonds. As an adult with no friends, it can be easy to think that you are most likely to make friends with those who are of a similar age, social background, or gender, but the truth is that these things matter less than you think.
What matters is shared interests, shared values, and compatible personalities. With millions of varied forums, Facebook groups, chat rooms, websites, and other places for online engagement, it is often easier to find like-minded people through this digital medium.
Shared interests are often good building blocks for a budding companionship, so why not take the activities you enjoy doing and turn them into a way to make new friends? Use services like meetup. Once you have made one or two friends, you could help strengthen the bonds you have with them by introducing them to each other. This is especially true if you all share interests or have similar temperaments. In How to Win Friends and Influence People , first published in and still in publication 16 million copies sold!
If you think truth is vital at all costs, at all times, well, count up how many friends you have. There is a reason my first paragraph rankled so much. All of this said, slating other people can cement a friendship.
Ten years ago there was a report published in the journal Personal Relationships called Interpersonal Chemistry Through Negativity: Or, as Alice Roosevelt Longworth put it more succinctly: Ultimately, old or young, male or female, friendships take lots and lots of work to maintain. Checking how they are. Lack of friends can be a result of reading signals incorrectly. It can make someone warm to you, make them like you, because they think you like them.
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Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. Friendship has been studied in academic fields such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and kitchener-waterloo-chiropractor.coms academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational. The True Meaning Of Friendship What is it that makes a true friend? Posted Dec 15, How to be a good friend and several signs you may be a bad one. The guide on maintaining healthy relationships.