How We Pick Our Friends

A recent study by the University of Bristol on teenage friendships sheds light on just how exactly we choose our friends. 

Initially, before the project, the researchers hypothesized that income and the occupational class of the teenager’s parents would have a huge effect on how we choose our friends; but these traits proved to be insignificant. On the contrary, the three traits that the researchers found to be most prevalent in the decision making process of choosing friends to be popularity, IQ, and either good/bad behavior. 

The conducted study consisted of 6,961 adolescents between the ages of 15-17. Each of these adolescents was instructed to choose and list their five best friends and explain details on how long they have been friends, their shared interests, how much time is spent with that person, popular conversation topics with that person, etc. This data was analyzed in order to come to their conclusions. 

The research revealed that adolescents choose their friends based on a concept called homophily, which is the need to establish friendships with people who are similar to you. Thus, personality was also a key determining factor in friendship choice. 

They also discovered that those friendships that last a long time are generally between two friends who are extremely similar to each other, particularly within the personality traits like emotional stability, intellect, extraversion, and imagination. It is thought that some of these friendships have even grown to together over time. 

This study insinuates that people choose their friends deliberately and purposefully, as opposed to random meetings of our social lives. There is a psychological process that we go through as we choose our friends that we are unconscious of and we are beginning to understand this process more and more. 

Sources: Phys Org

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