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May 20, 2019

Two Very Unusual Friends

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.

Friendship has been studied in academic fields such as sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles. A World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are much happier.

Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship.

Such characteristics include affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend.

While there is no practical limit on what types of people can form a friendship, friends tend to share common backgrounds, occupations, or interests, and have similar demographics.

In the typical sequence of an individual’s emotional development, friendships come after parental bonding and before pair bonding. In the intervening period between the end of early childhood and the onset of full adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense than relationships later in life. The absence of friends can be emotionally damaging.

The evolutionary psychology approach to human development has led to the theory of Dunbar’s number, proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. He theorized that there is a limit of approximately 150 people with whom a human can maintain stable social relationships.

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