Lecture 5: Friendship Flashcards Preview

PSY424H1S: Social Psychology of Relationships with C. Midgley > Lecture 5: Friendship > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 5: Friendship Deck (25)
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What is friendship and what are its 3 components?

  • friendship: a voluntary, personal relationship, typically providing intimacy and assistance, in which the two parties like one another and seek each other’s company
  • Components of a friendship:
    • (1) Affection – trust, respect, value loyalty and authenticity
    • (2) Communion – give and receive meaningful self-disclosures, emotional support, practice assistance
    • (3) Companionship – share interests and activities


How do friendships differ from love?

  • Liking and loving both include: positive and warm evaluations of the other
  • Romantic love only:
    • Fascination, sexual desire, and desire for exclusivity
    • More stringent standards of conduct (i.e. even more loyal and willing to help romantic partners than friends)
  • Friendships only:
    • Social norms are less confining
    • Easier to dissolve
    • Less likely to involve overt expressions of positive emotion
    • Spend less of their free time together (vs. romantic partners)
    • With members of the opposite sex: friendships are less passionate and committed
    • Don’t involve sexual intimacy


Why are friendships so important?

  • Study of unmarried young adults
  • “What is your closest, deepest, most involved, and most intimate relationship?”
    • 47% - romantic relationship
    • 36% - friendship
  • Study on daily interactions
    • More enjoyment, excitement with friends than when alone or with spouse
  • First relationships that we enter into voluntarily


What rewards do close friends give us?

  • Respect — we tend to respect and like those who have good moral qualities, are considerate, accepting, honest, and good listeners
    • If someone is friends with us, it means they respect us too
    • The more we respect a friend/lover, the more satisfying our relationship with that person is
  • Trust — we trust that friends/partners will selflessly keep our best interests in mind
    • Those who don’t trust their partners tend to more more guarded and cautious, and less content
  • Capitalization — receiving enthusiastic responses to our good news enhances our relationships with this person
  • Social support (e.g. capitalization)
  • Responsiveness: attentive and supportive recognition of our needs and interests
    • Perceived partner responsiveness promotes intimacy, self-disclosure, trust, and interdependency
    • Has positive health benefits (e.g. better sleep, lower stress, life seems more meaningful)


What are the 4 types of support involved in social support?

  • We rely on our partners for emotional support in the form of affection, acceptance, and reassurance;
    • physical comfort in the form of hugs and cuddling;
    • advice support in the form of information and guidance;
    • and material support, or tangible assistance in the form of money or goods
  • These distinctions aren’t solid and can overlap
  • Higher amounts of all four types of support are associated with higher relationship satisfaction and greater personal well-being
    • In fact, your income is likely to have less effect on your happiness than your level of social support does


What are the 6 complexities to social support?

  • Emotional support has physiological effects (e.g. healthier blood pressure and cholesterol, less stress hormones)
  • Effective social support leads us to feel closer to those who provide it
    • Feel happier, have higher self-esteem, and more optimism about the future
  • Some people are better providers of social support than others (e.g. those with secure attachment)
  • The best support fits our needs and preferences
    • Best type of help is invisible help, which is done unannounced and usually goes unnoticed by the recipient
    • Visible help is more effective when it fits the recipient’s current needs and goals — e.g. cooking dinner for someone who’s busy studying for an exam is more appreciated than emotional support
  • Not what people do for us but what we think they do that matters in the long run
  • Personal characteristics affect perceptions of social support
    • e.g. Insecure attachment → perceive support as less helpful


What are friendships like in childhood?

  • Rudimentary friendships in preschool gradually grow in complexity in response to additional interpersonal needs
    • Children are increasingly able to appreciate others’ perspectives and to understand their wishes and points of view
  • Elementary school: acceptance (vs. exclusion)
  • Preadolescence: intimacy — when first full-blown friendships are formed because we seek similarity in age, interests to form more intimate connections
  • Teenage: sexuality
  • At each stage, individuals must learn tools and skills that help them meet their own and others’ needs — needs get increasingly more complex since they’re stacked onto each other
    • e.g. In preadolescence, learn self-disclosure, perspective taking, empathy, etc.


What are friendships like in adolescence?

  • Spend less and less time with families, more and more time with peers
  • Start to turn to friends for attachment needs, exhibiting/experimenting with the 4 components of attachment with friends instead of parents
    • (a) proximity seeking, which involves approaching, staying near, or making contact with an attachment figure;
    • (b) separation protest, in which people resist being separated from a partner and are distressed by separation from him or her;
    • (c) safe haven, turning to an attachment figure as a source of comfort and support in times of stress; and
    • (d) secure base, using a partner as a foundation for exploration of novel environments and other daring exploits.
  • About 1/3 of older teens turn to a peer (who is usually a romantic partner vs. a friend) rather than a parent as their primary attachment figure


Explain Freeman & Brown’s (2001) study on attachment styles and friendship in adolescence.

  • Asked 11th & 12th graders: Who is your primary attachment figure?
  • Secure attachment: parents much more likely to be attachment figure
  • Insecure attachment: peers much more likely to be attachment figure
  • Conclusion: When securely attached, maintain childhood attachment to parent; when insecurely attached, may transfer attachment to peer


What are friendships like in young adulthood?

  • Late teens and early 20s – according to Erik Erikson (1950), develop intimacy vs. isolation & learn how to form enduring, committed intimate relations at this stage
  • If we move away for college/university, high-school friendships typically fade and are eventually replaced with new friendships
    • Students’ satisfaction with their social networks was lowest in the fall after they arrived at college since they hadn’t replaced their high school friends yet
  • After college, most people gradually interact with fewer and fewer friends, but these friendships become deeper, more interdependent
    • This trend seems to carry onwards through the rest of your life
    • Time with lovers increased while time with friends in general decreased
    • Number of romantic partners also decreases during 20s


What are friendships like in midlife?

  • dyadic withdrawal: as people see more and more of a lover, they see less and less of their friends
    • Friendships with members of the other sex are especially affected (might be seen by spouse to be potential romantic rivals)
    • Even though they see less of their friends, spouses often have larger social networks than they did when they were single because they see a lot more of their in-laws
  • Focus of socializing shifts from personal friends to those they have in common
    • Presents a problem for couples with no friends in common
    • Having some friends of one’s own does no harm, but having only exclusive friendships seems to be risky


What are friendships like in old age?

  • Smaller social networks
    • Same number of close friends
    • But fewer casual friends
  • socioemotional selectivity theory: different interpersonal goals explain age-related changes in sociability
    • Younger adults have future-oriented goals (e.g. acquiring information), seek larger networks with more diversity
    • Older adults more oriented toward the present, seeking out most satisfying friendships with least conflict
      • Not necessarily just older people, but anyone who considers his/her future time to be limited


What are rules of friendship and the 5 general expectations of our friends?

  • rules of friendship: shared cultural beliefs about what behaviors friends should (and should not) perform.
    • We usually learn these rules in childhood as well as that we receive disapproval when such rules are broken
  • 5 general expectations of friends to be:
    • trustworthy and loyal, having our best interests at heart;
    • confidants with whom we can share our secrets;
    • enjoyable and fun companions;
    • similar to us in attitudes and interests; and
    • helpful, providing material support when we need it.
  • Women have higher standards for their men, expecting more loyalty, self-disclosure, enjoyment, and similarity
  • Everyone expects more from a friend than less intimate companions
    • Romantic partners who value each other’s friendship are also more committed, and get more love and sexual satisfaction


What are the gender differences in same-sex friendships?

  • Women’s friendships typically characterized by emotional sharing, self-disclosure
    • Spend more time talking on the phone
    • Talk more about relationships, personal issues
    • Provide each other with more emotional support
    • Express more feelings of affection
    • Report more closeness & intimacy
  • Men’s friendships typically revolve around shared activities, companionship, and fun
    • Talk more about impersonal interests (e.g. sports)
    • Although adult men and women have the same number of friends, on average, women typically have partners outside their romantic relationships to whom they can turn for sensitive, sympathetic understanding and support, but men often do not


Are men less able or willing to form close friendships?

  • Less willing — why?
  • Intimacy between men is less socially acceptable (than intimacy between women)
  • Cultural norms & gender roles (in North America) dictate men should be instrumental (rather than expressive), and should display emotional constraint
  • In places where male expressiveness is not discouraged (e.g. the Middle East), gender differences in intimacy of same-sex friends disappears
  • More androgynous men tend to have closer friendships


Can men and women be just (close) friends?

  • Yes, of course! More common for:
    • Men who have higher levels of expressivity & women who have higher levels of instrumentality
    • Younger adults in college/university
  • The key difference for many cross-sex (vs. same-sex) friendships: the potential for sex
    • Men more likely to think having sex would be a good idea; women likely to underestimate how much their male friends would like to have sex
    • Attraction can result in instability in romantic relationships (e.g. lower satisfaction, spouse feeling threatened)
    • When they do end up having sex, it either ends up as friends with benefits or booty-calls, not actual romances
      • Most FWBs continue their friendship when the sex ends, especially if they were genuine friends and weren’t just in it for the sex
  • But even when they’re not sexual, cross-sex friendships can be tricky to maintain after marriage
    • Spouses are often threatened by a partner’s close connection to a potential rival, and sometimes with good reason: When people are attracted to a current cross-sex friend, they tend to be less satisfied with their romantic relationships


What are the 3 main individual differences in forming friendships?

  • Sexual orientation; LGBs tend to have more heterosexual friends but heterosexuals have far less LGB friends
  • relational self-construals: the extent to which we think of ourselves as interdependent, rather than independent, beings.
    • A relational self-construal makes someone a desirable friend
      • Better understand others’ opinions and values, and they strive to behave in ways that benefit others as well as themselves
    • Tend to be more common in non-Western parts of the world
  • In addition to narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy are other negative influential traits
    • High in Machiavellianism think that there’s a sucker born every minute and that it’s smart to take advantage of gullible fools
      • Cynical, duplicitous, and manipulative, and they readily lie to others if it helps them get what they want
    • These three traits are usually referred to as the Dark Triad; all involve low levels of agreeableness (Big 5) and result in behavior towards others that is disadvantageous (arrogant, manipulative, exploitative, cold, and hostile)


How have friendships become more difficult?

  • Intimate friendships are less common than they used to be
    • 25% of Americans have no close confidant (compared to 10% in 1985)
    • And an additional 19% have only one (who is often a spouse or sibling)
    • Despite the fact that fewer people are married/partnered than ever before
      • e.g. 1 out of every 8 adults lives alone in the US (up from 1 in 16 in 1960)
  • Two main factors may be that shyness and loneliness are more accepted in society now than it was before


What is shyness and what causes it?

  • shyness: a syndrome that combines social reticence and inhibited behaviour with nervous discomfort in social settings
  • Can happen to everyone sometimes, especially when
    • In an unfamiliar setting
    • Meeting attractive and/or high-status strangers
  • People who are chronically shy typically share 3 characteristics
    • Fear negative self-evaluation from others
    • Poor self-regard (or low self-esteem)
    • Lower levels of social skill


What are the interpersonal effects of shyness?

  • They worry about what people are thinking of them and dread disapproval from others, but they don’t feel capable of making favorable impressions that would avoid such disapproval
    • Leads to a cautious, withdrawn style of interaction that leads to less interest and enthusiasm from others
    • Ironically, their behavior leads to the exact type of impression they don’t want to make on people
  • For the most part, shyness is a burden and training people to not think so gravely about others perceptions of them reduces feelings of shyness


Explain Leary’s (1986) experiment on situations that help shy people.

  • Procedure: Ps who naturally varied in shyness were asked to meet and greet a stranger in a noisy environment that simulated a singles bar
    • In reality played tracks of overlapping conversations, music, and party noises
    • It was played at the same volume for everyone, but people were either told that it would be soft enough this wouldn’t interfere with their conversation or that it would actually be so loud it would interfere
  • Results: When the noise was soft, i.e. no good excuse for interactions to go poorly, shy people’s heart rates were 3x as fast as rest and gave off an uncomfortable impression to people watching videotaped versions of their conversation
    • When the noise was “loud”, i.e. everyone has lower expectations for the interaction, their heart rates increased only moderately and didn’t give off the impression of being shy


What is loneliness, and what’s the difference between social and emotional loneliness?

  • loneliness: when there is a discrepancy between the number and/or quality of close connections we want and those we have
  • social loneliness: being dissatisfied because we lack a social network of friends and acquaintances.
  • emotional loneliness: being lonely because we lack affection and emotional support from at least one intimate relationship.
  • The UCLA Loneliness Scale, which includes 3 measures:
    • (1) Isolation — feeling less in contact with others than one wants to be
    • (2) Less close connections than wish to have
    • (3) Experiencing little social connection to people in general


What are the main predictors of loneliness?

Rigid factors:

  • Genetics — variations in loneliness are 45% attributed to genetic differences
  • Personality — lower extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness

More flexible factors:

  • Insecure attachment (both attachment anxiety & avoidance)
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Gender — men are more likely to be lonely
    • When not in a romantic relationship
    • And macho men, but not androgynous men
  • Expressivity — more expressive leads to less likelihood of loneliness
  • Negative attitudes towards others — people who are lonely tend to distrust and dislike people whom they’re trying to seek acceptance, which leads to their interactions being drab and dull


What are the interpersonal effects of loneliness?

  • Negative attitudes about others (i.e. mistrust, dislike)
    • Drab and dull interactions
    • Slow to respond, don’t ask many questions
    • Quick to interpret innocent comments as rejection
    • Don’t disclose very much
  • Loneliness can also lead to depression
    • Tend to engage in excessive reassurance seeking: they persistently probe for assurances that others like and accept them but doubt the sincerity of such declarations when they are received and wear out their partners’ patience
  • Similar self-fulfilling cycle as shyness, but more insidious
    • Shy people keep their distance, whereas lonely people tend to irritate and annoy others
    • Both shy and lonely people have fewer positive interactions, but lonely people also have more negative interactions


How can people overcome loneliness?

  • More likely when
    • Loneliness is attributed to unstable, short-lived influences (rather than lasting deficiencies in self or others)
    • Feel hopeful that situation will improve
    • Have realistic aspirations
  • If loneliness = discrepancy between the number and/or quality of close connections we want and those we have
    • Then we need to make more friends OR improve quality of current friendships