Tag Archives: Graham Allen

The Way We Choose Friends

The Way We Choose Friends

This very general statement given by Graham Allen sums up very well some of the links to how friendships are formed. Most of the people who we class as our friends are likeminded people sharing one or more common interests. Many would say that people of the same social class are likeminded, mix and interact within the same social circles, perform similar jobs, take their children to the same schools or go to the same schools, colleges or universities, have common social interests and generally there is a large number of friends made with people who share the same social class. Are these friendships made because of the same social class, or through the common features of that social classes living? Relationships are made through interaction and meeting of people and then they develop further into friendships through similarities in their lives such as social class, similar personalities and common features of their lives.

The initial contact is made in certain settings such as work, a sports or social club, but they only truly become friends when they start to interact with these same people outside of areas where they initially met. People are consciously choosing their friends and choosing the kind of relationships they have with them, whether they be very open and share many details about their lives or quite closed and simply talk about the context which they are friends about, e.g. parenthood and schooling if they have met during their study.

Are many our friendships based on educational background? From compulsory education up to the end of high school we meet and make many friends, certainly not necessarily all our friends, but at least some. At the age of six for example, it is our school mates other than family and parental figures that you are spending most of your time with. Time is directly related to friendship because outside of work (at work you often dont have the choice of who you work and therefore have to spend time with) you only spend time with people whose company you enjoy. If you do not enjoy spending time with a certain person then most of the time you simply choose to not see him. Yes, we do choose our friends and certainly we choose who to not make friends with.

Another common quality that can lead to further friendship and certainly the most common ground for people to meet during their childhood and young adulthood, because of the fact that almost every one undergoes this within developed natures up to the age of mid-teens. You are mixing with more like minded people the further you are progressing. This happens due to the segmentation that occurs as you progress through the system. For example during A level education most of the people who I meet have the common aim of developing their academic skills, thus giving at least one common area of interest. Once you get to know some of these people you then discover further similarities and common grounds of interest e.g. sport, music, socialising, specific academic fields etc. However it is worth noting that certainly not all of these people you would class as friends in the sense that you spend a lot of time with them outside of the area of first contact, and these people you personally class as acquaintances. As you progress onto university and move away from home you again find more likeminded people and fewer non-likeminded people. This is again due to the fact that you choose an institution that meets your needs and fulfils your expectations and therefore most people who you meet there have similar needs and expectations, again more common grounds to develop potential friendships.

You then find people with qualities, backgrounds and personalities like yours, therefore friendships are certainly made on the common ground of education, because it is the major area of meeting people and within this area we make acquaintances and friendships.