Friendly relationships: how do they evolve throughout life?

Friendship relationships play a fundamental role in our lives. We all care about having bonds of affection and trust. We need others to develop and live a pleasant life. But what exactly is friendship? How are these relationships along the vital stages? There is a great history of friendship, but we don’t know anything about the true friendship and its characteristics

Friendship is an affective relationship based on trust and commitment. However, there is a wide variability about what each individual thinks about friendly relationships. This is due to the existing constructive factors around this concept. The subjectivity of each person will greatly influence, altering the criteria that define friendship.

In general, for adults, a friendship relationship is not a unidirectional relationship, but must be bidirectional. Friendship implies a mutual psychological satisfaction characterized by the understanding of the feelings and thoughts of both people. However, during childhood, we observe very different friendship relationships. Next, we explain how friendship relationships evolve throughout life,

Development of friendship relations:

Friendship has different stages, each with specific characteristics

Friendship relationships in early childhood:

We talked about the period between 0 and 2 years old. At this stage, it is difficult to talk about friendship in the strict sense, but we have the first approaches to social life. Studies indicate that young children initiate and maintain more interactions with known people than with those who are unknown to them. This preference implies the acquisition of trust with those that he identifies as known.

In addition, children prefer to relate to other equals with those who have had positive and pleasant experiences, rather than with those who assumed some kind of conflict. Therefore, we could talk about the beginning of friendship relationships, where the child chooses with whom to maintain game exchange and express a positive affection.

Friendship relations in the preschool stage:

The preschool stage is between 2 and 6 years old, just before beginning primary education. In this age group, children present an egocentric vision when it comes to understanding and analyzing friendship relationships. They do not distinguish their own perspective from those of others since a theory of the mind has not yet been developed.

Therefore, these friendly relationships are characterized by unstable encounters where the break comes easily, especially when there are interpersonal conflicts. Generally, children are friends of those who live nearby or of classmates. In short, they are unstable relationships based on closeness and largely directed and controlled by the parents or caregivers of the children.

Friendship relationships at the school stage:

This evolutionary stage includes when the child begins school until reaching adolescence, between 6 and 12 years. These friendly relationships are characterized by maintaining a relationship of cooperation and mutual help.

At these ages, children begin to understand others, thus abandoning their egocentric vision of friendship. Now, they choose peers who show affection and care about their needs and demands.

At this stage, the concept of friendship is close to that of most adults. Relationships are of a more lasting nature.  If they remain until adolescence they can create a close and highly affective bond.

Friendship relationships in adolescence:

This period begins at approximately 12 years and lasts until 18 years. Friendship relationships are conceived as adults. Teenagers consider friendship as a lasting relationship based on mutual knowledge and where affection takes a leading role.

At this stage, friendship relationships become much deeper, expressing values   of loyalty, trust, intimacy, and sincerity. Friends are chosen based on psychological characteristics and similar interests and hobbies.

As of adolescence, friendship relationships are enriched due to the multitude of experiences.  Distance and occasional conflicts cease to be an obstacle to maintain and enjoy the emotional bond created. Read more about friendship

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