With intriguing accuracy, sociologists and psychologists have delineated the forces that attract and bind friends to each other, beginning with the transition from acquaintanceship to friendship.They've traced the patterns of intimacy that emerge between friends and deduced the once ineffable "something" that elevates a friend to the vaunted status of "best." These interactions are minute but profound; they are the dark matter of friendship.
I was eager to tell her my problems, but she wasn't eager to tell me hers.
The necessary reciprocity was missing, so our acquaintanceship never tipped over into friendship.
Years ago researchers conducted a study in which they followed the friendships in a single two-story apartment building.
People tended to be friends with the neighbors on their respective floors, although those on the ground floor near the mailboxes and the stairway had friends on both floors.
There also were several significant gender differences in approval of norm violations.
As expected, women tended to have relatively high expectations of their friendships in situations involving trust and intimacy, likely resulting from the high value they placed on affiliation and emotional closeness.
My best friend, Olivia, and I met in a fiction-writing class many years ago.
We bonded in an instant during the discussion of one poor soul's incomprehensible story involving a woman who'd undergone surgery and was described delicately as having lost "that which made her a woman." Suddenly, out of my mouth sprang my impersonation of Monty Python's Eric Idle, "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?
Once a friendship is established through self-disclosure and reciprocity, the glue that binds is intimacy.
According to Fehr's research, people in successful same-sex friendships seem to possess a well-developed, intuitive understanding of the give and take of intimacy.
The answer might seem self-evident—our friend-in-the-making likes to garden, as do we, or shares our passion for NASCAR or Tex-Mex cooking. "The transition from acquaintanceship to friendship is typically characterized by an increase in both the breadth and depth of self-disclosure," asserts University of Winnipeg sociologist Beverley Fehr, author of .