Friendships are come and go, as you grow, but along the way, people find the most treasurable ones. They find someone they can call their “best friend”, someone they feel comfortable to be themselves around. They’re someone who people want to share anything and everything with. The ones who are there for each other in the middle of the night, when they need to talk. The ones who put their friends before themselves. The ones who feel super close, like unbiological siblings.
With social media and technology, it’s really easy to keep in touch, but true friendship takes much more than just liking each other’s post, or sending a few texts occasionally. We come to know countless people over the years, and it’s impossible to be close, best friends with everybody. True friendship takes effort to keep growing and thriving. With our busy lives, keeping up friendships can take a lot of work and time. We all know and see super close, peas-in-a-pod besties. So, how do they do it?
The treasurable friendships would last a lifetime, but most friendships that you make in your life won’t last long. About 50% of adolescent friendships don’t hold into the next school year. A recent study conducted on hundreds of 7th graders showed that about 25% of friendships survived into the next year, and only 1% by their senior year in high school. Though that precious 1% is still there because of the many factors that psychologist discover supports an amicable friendship.
Proximity Presses People Close
My psychology teacher told me that one factor is proximity. It’s much easier to keep up a friendship if people are constantly around each other. With distance decay, the farther apart people are, the harder it is to maintain communication and a strong friendship. In the study of social psychology, there’s the theory of the mere exposure effect, that states that the more “exposed” people are to others, the more they are around someone, the more they’ll grow to eventually like them.
The mere exposure effect has definitely worked on best friends at Lakeville North. All of the best friends interviewed from freshman to senior class, all say that they see a whole lot of each other, whether it be because of the multiple classes together, same interest, and/or close houses. They say that they text everyday, but there’s no need to really hang out because they’re spending all their time together anyway, with school and activities.
Similarity Sticks Friends Together
Another factor that pulls people together is things they have in common. There’s an old saying “opposite attracts”, but psychology proves that we like people who are more similar than different to us. It when friends are different in gender, school ability, and social status, that a friendship is likely to not stand against the test of time.
Junior best friends, Logan Truman and Sam Gellhorn, share a similar passion for band, particularly trombones, and both take interest in technology and programming. They’re besties who constantly hang out, and have made a promise to stay in touch after they graduate, and keep their friendship going strong.
When asked what makes their friendship strong, best friend pairs responded with variety of answers, including sharing similar activities (like band or theatre), love for god, being able to read each other’s mind, and that the presence of each other makes them happy.
“I walked into first hour, and made eye contact with Aaron, then doubled over laughing without having to say a word,” said Chloe, “because his presence is just so goofy, and brings me so much happiness.”
Chloe Mutebi and Aaron Panaligan are two sophomore best friends that use to not like each other, but grew on each other because of the time spent together with similar classes, and same activities after school.
Personal Support System
Psychologists believe that we like friends because of who they are, and how they support who we are. Best friends are always there for each other, whenever they need it. They embrace us and love us for who we are.
Braasch said, “People are always telling me to be quiet, and that I’m too loud, but Andrea embraces it, and is loud with me.”
Many of the students interviewed says that they wouldn’t know what to do if they didn’t have a best friend in their life to support and keep them sane, and the adults agree.
Kristin Shoemaker, parent of two lifelong best friends who have gone on multiple vacations together since they were little, said “As a parent, it’s important to know that my daughter has that [support], to have someone in her life that sees the best in her- it’s totally a gift.”
Shoemaker has one neighbor that has been her been best friend from elementary to high school, and now their families lives only 40 minutes away from each other. She said that throughout her life, she has been so grateful to have that friend to anchor her when bad peer pressure became hard to deal with, and keeps her self-aware, because she was more likely listen to her peer than her parents when they called her out on it. She believes that friends see your potential, and push you to it. Friendship should definitely be a priority in life.
Miller said “Hannah puts up with me, and we always have each other to lean on through tough times.”
Grillo agreed to that, saying that she’s “like a boyfriend” and they call each other every night just to say ‘goodnight’.
Same with two senior best friends, Max Dugan and Rob Frederick, who met on a mission trip two years ago, and have been inseparable ever since. They treasure the time they spent together very much, especially since they’re graduating soon.
Frederick said that they always talk about “deep life talks and stupid convos on life”, along with “cats” and “entertainment”.
That’s also backed up by science that proves people who have a network of friends, or just someone to go to in difficult times, suffer from less stress, have stronger defenses, and live longer. Friends encourage good habits, chase away depression, and cause satisfaction, pleasure, and happiness in each other’s lives.
In our society, it’s so easy to put our own self interest ahead of another, with all the advertising to get us to buy things with “take a break, you deserve more” kind of sayings. Friendship is only rich when you choose to put others first, because the best part comes when you choose to listen.
“We’re all looking to be happy,” said Shoemaker, “and friendship is what can give us real wholeness in life.”
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