Figuring Out Friendships – Part 3 – “Why should we be friends?”

Why should you become friends with someone – and what are reasons you shouldn’t?

I’m more the merrier type. If someone is kind, open and interesting I am more than willing to let them into my life. If they want to be a part of my life that is. As mentioned in a previous post there has to be a certain kind of chemistry for friendships to happen. It has to fit for both. Yet unlike when it comes to romantic relationships, we often tend to be less active, less picky and less reflective of our friendships.

Why is that? Why do we feel friendships are something that just happens to us rather than us being in control of them?

Many parts of our lives are dominated by the environment we find ourselves in. As children, we become friends with others that are simply live on our street or are in our classrooms. And many psychological studies support this theory. No matter how much we like to think that we are in charge of who we befriend, we are not as much in the driving seat as we think. It seems proximity is the main driver in order to build a foundation for a friendship. In social psychology it is called The Proximity Principle. It is a theory, supported by various studies that people who encounter each other more frequently tend to develop stronger relationships. It is the mere fact that when you are close to one another, you are more likely to develop a rapport and thus more likely to build a friendship. Even though you may not have much in common.

This is unknown to many people. Many people think they have an influence on who they become friends with. When I asked in a Facebook group which is focused on building friendships between women – all women said what makes them become friends with someone is common interests and similar values. Someone that people find is easy to get along with and easy to have good conversations with. So in the end it seems we do not really have high demands towards another person. You’d think reading that we should all have a lot more friends than we do. I believe the reason we don’t is again proximity. If you do not create it, you will not be able to build a rapport. No matter how much you have in common – if there is no consistency in your efforts to meet and build a relationship – there will be none.

All in all, studies show not much is needed. Meet often, find common ground and you will build a friendship. Yet why is it still so hard sometimes, even with age? I’ll continue to try to answer that in this series.

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