The Three Keys to Fostering Friendship
Beginning in the 1950s, sociologists began to delve into friendship theory. They came to the idea that true friendship relies heavily on three main conditions. Some people nowadays are beginning to refute this theory as our world grows evermore digital, but I believe they remain as true today as they were 60 years ago.
Being physically close to people for extended periods of time naturally lends itself to friendship. Again, some people try to refute this as not as necessary in today’s world. However, think about your high school or college friends once you moved away. It got much harder to truly stay in touch, and you likely drifted from most of them. Yes, you can see what they’re up to on Facebook, but if you don’t correspond regularly are you really friends?
Repeated & Unplanned Interactions:
This means bumping into Jake at the local coffee shop in the morning, or catching up with Will and his wife at church on a Sunday morning. These aren’t planned get-togethers; these are times when your paths cross randomly throughout town. Obviously, this is much trickier post-college. You can help this, though, by choosing to do your shopping, dining, exercise, etc. within your neighborhood. This increases the chances of running into people over and over again, and perhaps making new friends.
A Setting That Encourages Vulnerability:
Vulnerability here means people being able to let their guard down and truly be who they are. When you first meet people, no matter the environment, they tend to be cautious. They won’t let their sense of humor show, they won’t talk too much about their personal lives, etc. People are more likely to open up when you have a small backyard BBQ versus just meeting up at your local trivia night every week. It’s in smaller and more personal settings that friendship grows.