What makes an interpersonal relationship a friendship


Friendship, is an interpersonal relationship that offers a lot of individual freedom. Friends decide for themselves how the friendship should be led, how intense, how close, how open, how often and in what way they want to be there for each other. Friendship cannot be characterized by specific content or actions. However, there are characteristics that distinguish friendships from other interpersonal relationships: Friendship
- is a dyadic, personal, informal social relationship, the existence of which is based on reciprocity,
- Has a value for every friend that has different weights and can be composed of different content elements,
- is based on the voluntary nature of the choice, design and continuation of the relationship,
- includes a past and a future aspect;
- has a positive character as an indispensable component,
- no open sexuality in the sense of sexual intercourse ..
In personal relationship research, cross-sectional Often friendships or people who report about friendships, categorized according to graded characteristics - e.g. age, gender, length of friendship - are often created in studies. Then it is examined to what extent these characteristics are related to the degree of expression of other variables - e.g. frequency and type of interaction, costs and benefits of the relationship, conversation content, social support, intimacy, self-disclosure and conflict. The longitudinal Friendships are viewed from the perspective of the life cycle: What characterizes and differentiates childhood friendships, friendships among adolescents, friendships among adults and friendships in advanced age? On the other hand, the process of leading friendship is examined: What characterizes, for example, the creation, development, maintenance and dissolution of friendships? An important approach to the functioning of adult friendships comes from Paul H. Wright and combines self-concept research and learning theory: through rewarding interactions, the goals of the self in friendships are promoted. For example, you can convey to a friend that you are a competent person with whom it makes sense to spend time.


Auhagen, A. E. (1993). Friendship among adults. In A. E. Auhagen & M. v. Salisch (ed.), Interpersonal relationships. Göttingen: Hogrefe.
Fehr, B. (1996). Friendship processes. Thousand Oaks: Sage.