Friends Identity Essay

As people move for school, work, and family, networks spread out.

Moving out of town for college gives some people their first taste of this distancing.

To go along with their newly sophisticated approach to friendship, young adults also have time to devote to their friends.

According to the young adults often spend between 10 and 25 hours a week with friends, and the 2014 American Time Use Survey found that people between 20 and 24 years old spent the most time per day socializing on average of any age group.

You’re stuck with your family, and you’ll prioritize your spouse.

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But where once you could run over to Jonny’s house at a moment’s notice and see if he could come out to play, now you have to ask Jonny if he has a couple hours to get a drink in two weeks.College is an environment that facilitates this, with keggers and close quarters, but even young adults who don’t go to college are less likely to have some of the responsibilities that can take away from time with friends, like marriage, or caring for children or older parents.Friendship networks are naturally denser, too, in youth, when most of the people you meet go to your school or live in your town.This is true in life, and in science, where relationship research tends to focus on couples and families.When Emily Langan, an associate professor of communication at Wheaton College goes to conferences for the International Association of Relationship Researchers, she says, “friendship is the smallest cluster there.These expectations remain the same, but the circumstances under which they’re accomplished change.” The voluntary nature of friendship makes it subject to life’s whims in a way more formal relationships aren’t.In adulthood, as people grow up and go away, friendships are the relationships most likely to take a hit.In the hierarchy of relationships, friendships are at the bottom.Romantic partners, parents, children—all these come first.Sometimes it’s a panel, if that.”Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them.And unlike other voluntary bonds, like marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure.


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