Recent research in friendship studies is advancing our understanding of how to combat the loneliness epidemic by exploring beyond traditional concepts of friendships. This research is exploring what people look for in a friend and how to make and sustain good friendships, which is vital in fighting loneliness. It challenges earlier notions of friendship based on similarity, familiarity, proximity, and gender-specific preferences, instead emphasizing individual preferences in choosing friends and the importance of qualities like loyalty, trustworthiness, and warmth.
- Traditional friendship research focused on similarities, familiarity, and proximity, as well as gender-based differences, with women preferring emotionally close relationships and men preferring task-oriented ones.
- New research highlights the importance of individual preferences in choosing friends, looking for qualities such as loyalty, trustworthiness, and warmth.
- The research suggests that while gender differences exist in friendship preferences, they are not as rigid as previously thought, with a more holistic view showing reduced differences.
- Making close friendships requires significant time investment, with research suggesting 30 hours for a casual friend, 140 hours for a good friend, and 300 hours for a best friend.
- Understanding diverse friendship preferences is crucial in addressing the loneliness epidemic and related public health issues, including suicide risk.