Making Friends
The process of making a friend is a very unique one. It
depends on the person one is trying to become friends with, it
depends on one's gender, it depends on one's age, but most
importantly it depends one's personality. Every individual is
different and how they make friends differs just as greatly. The
way I make friends depends heavily on my personality. As an
introverted person, I tend to first meet potential friends through
what I call forced association. After the initial meeting, I
evaluate them and determine whether or not I think they should be
my friend. Bonding, specifically male bonding, follows and
acceptance is the final stage.
Before I can delve into the sometimes mysterious process of
becoming friends with someone, I have to divulge some personal
information. I am a great believer in personality typing: the
theory that a great majority of people fall into one personality
type or another. A complete analysis of my personality is not
within the scope of this essay, but suffice it to say that I am
very introverted. This does not mean I am anti-social, it merely
means that new and non-routine interaction with others taxes my
energy. The process of making a new friend is by definition a new
and non-routine interaction, therefore it is quite difficult for me
to initiate the process. This is where the concept of forced
interaction comes in. By forced interaction, I mean a situation
where another person and I are placed in an environment where we
have no choice but to interact with each other. The largest and
most important type of forced interaction for me is school, and
more specifically, classes. It is impossible to be completely
separate from other students in a class. Consequently, I met all
my best friends in school (of course, it was a place that I spent
most of my time so it is not a big surprise). Another type of
forced interaction comes when you meet a friend of one of your
friends. It would be extremely rude to not interact with someone
that your friend considered to be friend. That is the way that I
met a very close friend of mine and one who I will use as an
example of my friend-making process throughout this essay. His
name is Andres and I originally met him through another friend of
mine, Josh. We were all going to the same high school next year
(more forced association), so it was only natural for Josh to try
to have us all become friends. But I was not friends with Andres
when I first met him. I had to figure out who he was before that
could happen.
Evaluation has always been very important to me. I constantly
evaluate and re-evaluate myself, my friends, my schoolwork, and so
forth, almost to the point of obsession. I am ruthlessly self-
critical and it is only natural that this same criticism would
extend to those I consider my friends. Before I can become friends
with someone, I have to determine whether or not I want to be
friends with them. I have been told that this is an extremely
arrogant way of conducting relationships, but I find any other way
to be lacking. If one's own needs in a relationship are not met
then it is impossible for them to fulfill other's. The first step
in evaluation is the establishment of common ground. It is very
unlikely that I will become even casual friends with someone who I
have nothing in common with. The more important to me the
commonality is, the more likely I will desire to become close
friends with someone. One of the first things I look for is
intelligence. Part of my personality is the love of intelligence,
which means: doing things well in varying circumstances. A very
important part of a friendship for me is intellectual stimulation.
If it is missing, the friendship will invariably begin to wane. So
intelligence and knowledge are two things I look for almost
immediately in a new acquaintance. Andres possesses both of these
qualities and he possesses them in areas that we both find
interesting. Both of us have an aptitude for the sciences. This
contributed greatly to me finding him worthy to be my friend. But
knowledge and skills alone make a person boring, so I also look for
common personality traits. A love of humor is also necessary, as
is a low degree of self-monitoring: the degree to which people
change to match their surroundings. I am extremely low in that
area as I tend to act the same in any situation. An