Summary of Friendfluence

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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Scientific

Recommendation

Friends can improve your health or motivate you to quit smoking or lose weight. A lack of friends can lead to isolation, unhappiness and poor health. In modern society, where many people delay or avoid marriage, having friends can fill that relationship void. You may be happiest and less stressed with your friends because you expect less from them than from your mate or your family. Former Psychology Today writer and editor Carlin Flora discusses different aspects of friendship, including the powerful sway of “friendfluence,” in this meticulously researched report. Weaving personal stories with social-science research, Flora discusses how children and adolescents make friends, what benefits and disadvantages friendship brings, how the Internet affects friendship, and more. Her book is fairly comprehensive, though Flora doesn’t write in depth about workplace friendship; perhaps that’s fertile ground for her next book. getAbstract recommends her insights to people seeking to better understand or appreciate their friendships.

About the Author

Carlin Flora worked for eight years as a writer and editor at Psychology Today.

 

Summary

Defining Friendship

How do you define friendship? Holly described meeting Erin as “love at first sight – but not in a romantic way.” Erin helped Holly leave her difficult husband, and even though they had known each other for only a few months, Erin offered Holly a place to live. Friends fulfill aspects of your personality that might be missing or incomplete. You might describe your friends as family members, only better – the siblings you wanted but never had.

Brian de Vries, a professor at San Francisco State University, studied different types of friendships. Among adults from 55 to 87 years old, he discovered that friends fall into three categories shaped by “behavioral processes, cognitive processes and affective processes.” You might choose friends based on behavior – what you do together, such as sports. Or you might choose friends based on cognitive factors like shared interests and values. Affective processes refer to mutual emotions, such as feeling that “you don’t need to explain yourself.” Background, age and proximity shape a fourth category: People befriend those who share their demographics.

Friendships differ by gender. Geoffrey Greif, a professor...


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