“When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.”
(―A Time to Talk 🖋️Robert Frost)
Do you happen to have a friend like this? Perhaps, you guys have the same interests, or that you have been through your hard times together, or maybe you could rely on one another for sharing secrets. If you do, congratulations! You have got yourself such a wonderful supporter in life!
Maybe, you have come to think of your spouse or date as the one good friend. Even if that’s the case, you are still very much blessed since it is not easy to be best friends with one’s partner.
Now, have you ever thought about what made you two great friends? For those of you who haven’t come up with a friend like this in mind, don’t judge too quickly and give up the chance to earn one. Why not let me be your friend for the day and see how strong friendships lighten up our lives?
Have you ever considered the reasons as why you are friends with your friends and not friends with your family’s friends even if that person is a mutual acquaintance? From psychological findings, we “select” our friends based on four factors, including similarity, proximity, familiarity, and reciprocity (Brannan & Mohr, n.d.).
We hear a lot of people saying how opposite attracts, but from scientific knowledge, we find that people usually are pretty similar to one another in certain aspects that make them friends or couples.
Recall that one time when you were in a conference or company meeting where you came across someone who showed genuine interest or preference toward your views and someone who was always against your proposals. Like the former more than the latter, right?
Or perhaps think of the time when you were in a strange gathering, and yet you became friends with dog lovers or cat lovers simply due to your same experiences raising the pet animal. These scenarios all implicate how two people turn into friends because of similar habits, thinking styles, values, and backgrounds.
Did you notice that the friends you are still having contact with are those you meet often in your everyday life? For instance, they may be your classmates sitting in the same class this semester, your colleagues at work, your brothers and sisters at church, your sport buddies, your game pals over the Internet, your fellow in the military, and etc.
Psychologists have discovered that when we have close contact with someone or that we are physically close to someone, the two of us are more likely to become friends (Brannan & Mohr, n.d.).
In addition to our physical proximity, when we are in a closer distance with someone, it also means that we spend more times together creating intimate memories significant to us both. Thus, if you would like to become best friends with someone, try engaging in certain activities together, building the memories that will make you closer to one another.
Familiarity can be considered a comparable concept to the proximity we just discussed earlier. We feel more familiar with those who show up more often in our lives where the familiarity experienced becomes how well we like them in return (Brannan & Mohr, n.d.).
Take a life experience, for example. When you pick up toilet papers in the supermarket, you first walk to the aisle with the stacks of toilet papers with various labels on them. Suppose that all the toilet papers are selling in their original prices and that they do not differ much in texture, are you not accustomed to take the one brand that you normally use at home? Furthermore, oftentimes, however much people recommend you the products of another brand, you are not changing your first choice easily.
This example might not seem obvious as how it relates to the familiarity of a friend; it indeed articulates how we normally choose friends based on our familiarity felt toward them.
Think through your interactions with that person whom you call friend. Are you both valuing the companionship on the same or similar level?
A relationship can only happen when one person knocks on the door of the other person, while the person being called on is also willing to open the door and invite the other inside. If only one side holds high value for the friendship, we will soon begin to see the relationship falter.
Moreover, usually we are inclined to be friends with someone when we have interactions with them. Sometimes, we may be the one that contributes to the friendship and sometimes it may be our friends giving out to us. Whether we would like to admit it or not, we all sneer at those who take complete advantage of us.
Suddenly, I feel, it’s a good time to thank our friends who have been kind and generous to us. Don't you think?
Now you know why you became friends with the person next to you, right? Let me review this for you: When we are more similar to another person in personality and/or likes, remain close contact with one another, are more familiar with him/her, and value the friendship on the same level, we are more likely to maintain our close rapport.
- Brannan, D., & Mohr, C. D. (n.d.). Love, friendship, and social support. In Noba Project’s Social Psychology. Retrieved from https://tophat.com/marketplace/social-science/psychology/textbooks/social-psychology-noba-project/1903/68572/