What are three magic ingredients for a long-term friendship? Remember when you were a kid in kindergarten? Remember how finding new friends was easy? This becomes more difficult as you get older. You used to approach another kid, start talking and asked them if they want to be your friend and that was it. Now, when you are older, you actively need to make friends and it’s not that easy.
Back to our question: what are three main ingredients of long-lasting friendship? Here we are going to discuss location, timing and bonus variables.
Let’s start with the location.
Back in school, your best friend was in your class, right? If not, they lived in your neighbourhood or they went to the same school as you did. The same is applicable for later in life. It’s more likely that you will have friends at work or e friendly with people who live nearby. That doesn’t even have to be the same neighbourhood or the same office, but it has to be at least the same city. The closer, the better. In one study, researchers asked married students who lived in a student housing complex to list three people they talked to the most and they found that those people are usually the ones living with them in the same building or even more the ones living on the same floor.
Of course, we are also creating long meaningful friendships with people around the world online. However, those friendships lack commitment and depth highlighting the importance of face to face contact. We are not saying that online friendships are not real, but we are stressing more the importance of visiting and making an effort to go and see our friends.
Living in the same area is not enough to create a connection with someone, of course, you need an opportunity to run into each other.
Opportunity for meeting another person is the second ingredient.
You need not only one but a few situations where you will run into each other to establish a strong relationship. Again, this is why the school was the best playing field for making friends. Now, when you are older there are many opportunities like the gym, a close-by bar, a sports team or volunteer group. This is the main reason why you are more likely to become friends with a colleague from work. You have plenty of opportunities to see each other and get to know each other better. This is a principle known as the mere exposure effect.
The third ingredient is timing which is probably the trickiest part.
Friendship is fun but it takes time and work. You need to find time in your day to communicate, stay in touch and have coffee together. You need funds to go outside and celebrate the fact that you got promoted with your friends and you need the energy to go for a drink after work. Not everyone has hours, money and willingness to build the relationship especially if you have a time-consuming job or family obligations. Furthermore, if you have a lot of friends, each one of them requires time and energy.
There are many other countless elements at play, from personality match, similarities, social skills and even physical attractiveness. Did you know you tend to choose friends who are as attractive as you?
Making new friends takes time and energy. It’s an effort. What to do? Reach out to the person you keep running into and do something together. If the timing is right for both of you, you might end up being friends. It’s lonely sometimes for us adults even if we have family members to talk to and a few friends. Making new friends is never a bad move.