The Definition of Friendship and Community
- What Is Friendship? | HowStuffWorks — Alia Hoyt and Molly Edmonds
“Much like romance, if you’ve ever tried to make a new friend and things just didn’t click, it’s likely because one of the basic components of friendship simply wasn’t there.”
Plato’s definition of friendship: friendship, as understood here, is a distinctively personal relationship that is grounded in a concern on the part of each friend for the welfare of the other, for the other’s sake, and that involves some degree of intimacy.
- What is Community? — Faith Action
FaithAction has been researching the core ‘ingredients’ that make a community. We undertook case studies of ten community ‘hubs’, with backgrounds in a variety of faiths and no faith, and analyzed them to identify the core themes that make up community.
- What does “community” even mean? A definition attempt & conversation starter — Fabian Pfortmüller
“Community” has a definition problem. Community = a group of people that care about each other and feel they belong together. A group of people caring about the same goal doesn’t necessarily mean community.
The Psychology and Science of Friendship
The following articles explore studies and research that show why friendship is important according to science.
“The drive to join is deeply ingrained, a result of a complicated evolution that has led our species to a condition that biologists call eusociality.”
- Health Benefits of Friendship— Chris Woolston
“Many studies over the years have found that people generally live longer, happier, healthier lives if they have a strong network of support from friends and family.”
- Social Support: Getting and Staying Connected — Mental Health America
“Research has shown that social support wards off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems.1 Do you need to be more connected to others? Here are some tips to help you create a plan to make, keep and strengthen connections in your life.”
- Good Friends Might Be Your Best Brain Booster As You Age— Judith Graham
Blue Zones researchers cite studies that find people over the age of 80 benefit from social interaction
In the real world, scientific and anecdotal research suggests many men struggle to maintain friendships compared to their female counterparts, especially as they age past their school days.
- Survey: 3 Out Of 5 Americans Are Lonely— Elena Renken
A new report finds that good co-worker relationships are linked to decreased loneliness.
Even small social changes can have a large impact. Striking up post-meeting conversations with co-workers, or even engaging in micro-interactions with strangers, can make your social life feel more rewarding.
The Evolution and History of Friendship
Where did friends come from in the first place?
- Humans Evolved to Be Friendly — Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
Cooperation made Homo sapiens the last human species standing.
- The Evolutionary Benefit of Friendship — Farnam Street
Healthy friendships offer far more than a reliable person to share a beer with. Research shows they can make us healthier, wealthier, happier and overall more successful. Here’s how.
Friendship and Happiness
“Heaps of research suggest that social connections make people happier. Satisfying relationships not only make people happy, but they also associated with better health and even longer life.”
- People Who Prioritize Friendship Over Romance— Rhaina Cohen
What if friends, not marriage, was at the center of life? Centered around a few stories of close intimate friendships, Cohen explores the bonds shared between friends who stick with each other through all of life’s (and romance’s) ups and downs.
- Small Talk Practice — Greater Good Science Center
Strike up a brief conversation with a stranger to feel happier.
- 45 Conversation Starters to Bolster Your Bond with Your Friends and Family — Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
“Get curious about your loved ones, their thoughts and dreams, their perspectives on the world and life. Ask these questions tonight at dinner or tomorrow at lunch. Ask them during a date with your partner.”
- On the Art of Conversation — The School of Life
“Truly good conversations come along very rarely; largely because our societies fall for the Romantic myth that knowing how to talk to other people is something we are born knowing how to do, rather than an art dependent on a little planning and a few skills.”
So We Can Finally Measure How Deep Our Deep Conversations REALLY Are
- How To Never Run Out Of Things To Say (6 Tips That Work) — Jeff Callahan
“ah, this may be the holy grail of people skills…”
- How to Become a Master at Talking to Strangers — Joe Keohane
Author of the book The Power of Strangers explains strategies for using small talk as a door to deeper connection and commonality.
- How to have more meaningful conversations — Lucy Foulkes
Be brave enough to share, kind enough to listen, and you can escape the shallows of small talk to dive deep with another
Where to Meet People
- 21 Best Ways to Meet New Friends in a New City or Town — Aaron Stanley
“If you are looking for the best ways to meet new friends in a new city, first think about the hobbies and activities that are enjoyable for you. Need some good ideas first? Take a look at our list of fun ways to meet new friends in a new city, as well as ways to meet friends online.”
- 37 Fun And Painless Ways To Meet New People — Barrie Davenport
“Especially for introverts, making friends in a new city takes a lot of emotional energy and effort. But you can’t belly up and remain a hermit forever. You have to find places to meet new people.”
- How To Find Events And Clubs In Your Community — Succeed Socially: A free guide to getting past social awkwardness
A list of ideas for places to meet new people and get out into your community.
Making New Friends
- 6 Easy Ways to Make New Friends as an Adult — Michelle Darrisaw
“Whether you’re a recent transplant to a new town, or you’re interested in adding a few fresh faces to your inner circle, there are some practical things you can do to make (and keep) friends as an adult. First step, put yourself out there.”
Friendships don’t just appear — you have to be intentional about making them. Here are three concrete ways one woman is making the effort.
- How to Make Friends as an Adult — Dr. Marisa G Franco
“When you’re an adult, friendship doesn’t happen organically because you aren’t in many spaces with continual unplanned interaction and shared vulnerability. If you’re passive about making friends, you won’t make any. You need to make a deliberate effort to meet new people.”
- Six Habits Of People Who Make Friends Easily — Stephanie Vozza
The secret to making new friends is as simple as being open to it. Here are things you can do to fill your calendar.
If you are stuck in a holding pattern, you may not be able to make connections easily. Discovering any of these obstacles will help you change your mindset.
From fitness classes to social media, there are plenty of ways to meet people in a new area – especially if you assume you’re naturally likable
Whether you are starting a new friendship or trying to bring more intimacy into an existing relationship, all friendships need to be nurtured to grow.
- How to Be a Better Friend in the Digital Age — Amy Maclin and Molly Simms
A present-day primer on nurturing, savoring, and decoding your relationships with your best pals.
- How to build closer relationships — Kara Cutruzzula
Advice from 7 TED speakers on creating better connections.
“When the going gets tough, don’t go at it alone.”
Types of Friends
There are several ways to categorize the friends we hold in life. These articles outline a few ways.
- 4 Types of Friends — Gretchen Rubin
A quick summary of Geoffrey Greif’s book Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships, and the 4 types of friends he outlines in his book: Must Friends, Trust Friends, Just Friends, and Rust Friends.
Philosopher Aristotle identified three types of friendships: Ones based on utility or pleasure, and one on mutual appreciation of each other’s values.
- Every Friend You’ll Meet in Life, Described by Ice Cream Flavors — Mary-Kate Brunk
“In life there are many different “flavors” of friends, just as there are many different flavors of ice cream”
- The Crappy Person Checklist — James Altucher
Entrepreneur and author James Altucher writes on how to identify friends who are bad and good for you and how to use or lose relationships to change your life.
- Are We Acquaintances or Are We Friends? — ConvoConnection — Christina Somerville
Unfortunately, social ease doesn’t last forever. We grow up and get more nuanced about our relationships. We collect emotional baggage and we get constrained by expectations of others. Today, the word “friend” has taken on new meaning
What is Community?
- 10 Traits That Make a Good Community — Stephanie Caldow, B.A.
10 characteristics that all positive communities share. “Positive communities are groups that inspire their members in ways that promote a sense of self-discovery and group connection, encouraging members to express their beliefs and values, as well as build relationships with others.” Stephanie Caldow, B.A., is a certified positive psychology practitioner with a specialization in HRM.
- 5 facts about neighbors in the US — Leslie Davis and Kim Parker
The results of a Pew Research Center survey in 2018 show the statistics of neighborly relationships in the United States. Only about half of Americans say they know some of their neighbors.
- How to Find Genuine Community in Our Lives — ConvoConnection — Christina Somerville
“We all want to be a part of something. A community where we matter. Where we’re not only immediately recognized but enthusiastically welcomed. A place where our presence and participation are intimately entwined with the lives of others and we know for certain we’re among friends.
- How urban, suburban and rural residents interact with their neighbors — Pew Research Center
Most Americans say they know at least some of their neighbors, but only about three-in-ten say they know all or most of them. Despite being more isolated, rural residents are more likely to know their neighbors.
Information on Intentional Communities and Co-Housing
- Everyone Needs Someone Else — Jeffrey Kluger
Why Americans of all ages are coming together in ‘Intentional Communities’
“We asked psychologist Susan Pinker, author of The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarter, to explain the benefits of living in a community of about 150 people, the average population of traditional villages throughout history around the world.”
Cohousing expert Grace Kim shares plans for how to build a common house.
- Similarities and differences between urban, suburban and rural communities in America — Kim Parker, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Anna Brown, Richard Fry, D’vera Cohn And Ruth Igielnik
Amid widening gaps in politics and demographics, Americans in urban, suburban and rural areas share many aspects of community life
The Science of Loneliness
Psychologists and doctors alike are concerned about the loneliness epidemic in the US. These articles explain the science of what makes loneliness so bad.
- Work and the Loneliness Epidemic — Vivek Murthy
Former Surgeon General of the United States explains why reducing isolation at work is good for business.
- Chronic Loneliness Is a Modern-Day Epidemic — Laura Entis
“The absence of social connection triggers the same, primal alarm bells as hunger, thirst and physical pain.”
Striking up friendships can be tricky – and studies show millions of us are lonely. Here, four people who forged new connections explain how they did it. Plus: psychologist Linda Blair gives her tips.
- The Risks of Social Isolation — Amy Novotney
As friendship brings health benefits, the opposite is true for loneliness.
- Loneliness is bad for our health. Now governments around the world are finally tackling it — Jenny Anderson
Governments in countries from Australia and Denmark to Japan and the UK are starting to take measures against loneliness as it is now seen as a serious health risk.
- The BBC Loneliness Experiment — BBC and The University of Manchester
The BBC Loneliness Experiment was a national survey and the largest ever study of loneliness. 55,000 people in the UK were surveyed on the experience and effects of loneliness.
A selection of stories of loneliness sent in by readers.
“When self-care is the order of the day, does distancing yourself from the darkness make you a wellness warrior or a bad friend? Below, experts discuss how to deal with friendship rough patches and knowing when to call it quits.”
- Innocence lost: What did you do before the internet? — Leah McLaren
People born in the late 1970s are the last to have grown up without the internet. Social scientists call them the Last of the Innocents. Leah McLaren ponders a time when our attention was allowed to wander
“Many leaders reach midlife and discover that intimacy has been squeezed out of their marriage, family and friendships.”
- Got Friends? 4 Questions About Retirement Planning, True Social Security And Social Media — Joseph Coughlin
Comprehensive retirement planning, that is longevity planning, is about more than financial security, it is about ensuring your true “social” security. So what is the balance and status of your social portfolio?
- What Did COVID Do to Friendship? — Jane Hu
The pandemic reoriented our economy of attention, redefining the limits of who and what we could care about.
The TV show sold us an idealized vision of these relationships. For young adults, the real thing is far harder to find.
- Our need for true connection is giving rise to phone-free spaces — Joelle Renstrom
Putting our phones away allows us to inhabit moments that otherwise become lost in the noise of social media – moments we get to experience only once.
- The Health Benefits of Friendship — Joseph Burgo
As it turns out, having friends is not only good for your soul but it’s good for your body, too.
- Why Having Friends At Work Is Important Infographic — Jeff Fermin
We found some incredible statistics that prove that having a good group of friends at work is not only a nice-to-have, but it can make everyone work better.
- 10 Benefits of friendship in an infographic — Meetizer
Look at our 10 reasons why friendships are so important!
- Small Talk 101 — Yumi Sakugawa
A short infographic guide to social skills
- The 11 Types Of Friends You Make In Your Twenties — Adam Ellis
Illustrations of stereotypical friends you may meet in life.
- Identify your Annoying Facebook Friends from High School Infographic — classfinders.com
A humorous take on the “friends” you have on facebook from highschool.
- Who Are the Lonely in America? — Barna
Barna explores new data about the care and keeping of friends.