Friends are pretty awesome. They’re great to hang out with, they make you laugh, and there are always re-runs on E4.
Although we can all reel off a list of names when asked who our friends are, defining friendships, and figuring out what makes some last longer than others, is pretty difficult.
Of course, there are obvious elements to friendship, like keeping in regular touch, being able to trust each other, and simply ‘clicking’. But according to one study, something called ‘social identity support’ is what predicts – when factors such as the above are controlled – the strength of friendship. This refers to how much you feel your friend is supportive of the aspects of your life that you consider to be integral to who you are.
“Sometimes all a friend needed to do to keep the best friendship going was to affirm the other person’s identity as a member of the given group – ‘You’re an asset to the team’ or ‘It’s so cool that you play sax for the Stanford band!’- affirming the status of the group itself“ says the research from the University of Winnipeg.
In essence, this is why you’re more likely to be friends with somebody you have things in common with – but it also explains why sometimes, best friends have nothing in common. The key is that they respect and encourage each other’s interests, whatever they are.
We often take our friends for granted – but now you know the secret to lasting companionship, there’s no excuse to avoid that holiday to Magaluf you regret agreeing to go on. It’ll be worth it in the long run.