Friendship

Matrimania is my term for the over-the-top hyping of marriage, coupling, weddings, and brides. Amidst all that glorification, other important relationshps are often devalued or overlooked. Friendship is one of the most significant, but underrated, relationships in our lives. Let’s talk about it, and learn more about it.


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From the back cover of Friendsight:

Two friends look at the same facial expression and interpret it the same way – if they are women. Over time, two friends can spot each other’s lies more accurately – but only if they are emotionally close. Sometimes one friend does not want the other to notice feelings of sadness or anger – then the closer friends are actually less likely to recognize that distress than the less close friends. Ordinarily, though, friends are more likely to know the truth about each other than are strangers, and that’s because friends less often lie to each other in their everyday lives.

Those discoveries and more are described in the five articles in this collection. All were originally published in scholarly journals.

  1. Similarities between Friends in their Understanding of Nonverbal Cues
  2. Familiarity Effects in Nonverbal Understanding: Recognizing Our Own Facial Expressions and Our Friends’
  3. Reading Nonverbal Cues to Emotions: The Advantages and Liabilities of Relationship Closeness
  4. Everyday Lies in Close and Casual Relationships
  5. The Development of Deception Detection Skill: A Longitudinal Study of Same-Sex Friends

You can read my blog posts and readers’ discussions of those posts in the Friendship section of my blog.

You can read a New York Times story about the health implications of friendship, in which I was quoted, here.

Below are two opportunities to share your own friendship stories with other readers here on this page (or to send them to me privately).

Please post your stories and comments in response to both questions – “How We Met” and “What Have You Told…” – in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

How We Met: Share the Story of Your Friendship

So often, people in marriages or other romantic relationships are asked to share the story of how they met. But where are the stories of people’s platonic friendships? Let’s share them here. Tell us about an important friend in your life – how did you two meet? (If you prefer to send your story to me privately, rather than posting it publicly here, e-mail it to me at BellaDePaulo@gmail.com.)

What Have You Told a Friend that You’ve Never Told Anyone Else?

Is there something important that you have confided to a friend but not to anyone else (except maybe a professional, such as a therapist or doctor)? Please tell us about it. If you are willing, please also tell whether you were married (or in a committed romantic relationship) at the time that you confided to your friend. (If you prefer to send your story to me privately, rather than posting it publicly here, e-mail it to me at BellaDePaulo@gmail.com. If you want to smail mail your story, my address is Bella DePaulo, P.O. Box 487, Summerland, CA 93067. There is no need to include any identifying information.)

    4 thoughts on “Friendship

    1. This doesn’t fit nicely anywhere, but I wanted to mention the phenomenon of hospital friendships. Since my accident 7 months ago, I’ve spent 3 days a week at the rehab clinic and I’ve bonded with people there in a very special way. I don’t know that many of us will keep in touch, but there have been magical moments of connection that will always be part of me. I’m sure there is a “genre” of friendship based on meeting people in that context. I’d like to explore it more in a conversational format.

    2. That’s a great point, Psyngle — thanks. My guess is that what you describe is important in the specific sense you mention but is also suggestive of a broad principle of making friends (e.g., sharing something emotionally significant that other people can’t really understand the same way).

    3. How we met?
      My best friend (if I were to rank them I guess) is someone I met in grade 3. She was new to the school/city and she lived right around thr corner from me…this made it easier to go over to eachothers houses and play. As we got older and moved through highschool, we would meet at a mailbox that was halfway between our houses, every night before bed. If it was just to share a smoke, share some gossip or even just to say ‘goodnight, see you in the morning’…this became our meeting spot (keep in mind this was before cell phones and texting and internet etc..the 90′s). Gowing up, as I changed groups of friends and people I would hang out with, me and her would be the solid 2 that never changed. We are now in our early thirties and she has a husband/child and I have been single most of my life (minus 2.8yrs). We live in different provinces but we will still call eachother to talk about the new shampoo we bought or what we are doing on the weekend…our mailbox has turned into texting and phonecalls but we still talk almost everyday. I am so happy to have her as a close friend and can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives will bring…

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