Friendship is mainly about 'me, me and me'

October 23, 2009

Young people mainly select their friends according to the image they have of another person, irrespective of whether the person concerned actually satisfies that image. Dutch researcher Maarten Selfhout has demonstrated that young people consider themselves to be the most important factor in a friendship. Nevertheless friendship can still exert a significant influence: boys become criminal and girls become depressed.

Selfhout analysed the data from two long-term studies, CONAMORE and Mijn Eerste Jaar [My first year]. In CONAMORE young people aged 11 to 20 years completed questionnaires. In the project Mijn Eerste Jaar, 205 first-year students completed online questions over a period of four months. The research revealed that the image young people have of their friends is more important than the actual character of these friends.

Young people seek friends who are similar to themselves. For example, they look for similarities in . Young people who consider themselves to be friendly and extrovert look for friends with these characteristics. In the case of young adolescents musical preferences also play a significant role. Young people with a preference for non-mainstream music such as hiphop or heavy metal will frequently become friends with young people who share this musical taste.

Boys become criminal and girls become depressive

Selfhout investigated not only how friendships develop, but also the influence of these friendships on young people. He discovered that the criminal behaviour of boys often increases if they have criminal friends. Yet that was absolutely not the case with . They could, however, experience other harm from : they run a greater risk of becoming depressive if they experience a low quality of friendship. Boys, however, are scarcely affected by this.

In 2009, Maarten Selfhout received a Rubicon grant from NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).

Provided by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (news : web)

Explore further: Hello? Their phones have changed, but teenaged girls have not

Related Stories

Friendly young people in particular drink under pressure

July 5, 2007

Men, extrovert people and those with positive expectations regarding alcohol use drink more than others, says Dutch psychologist Sander Bot. The amount a young person drinks is largely determined by how much others in the ...

Recommended for you

Four pre-Inca tombs found in Peru's Lima

November 27, 2015

Archaeologists in Peru have found four tombs that are more than 1,000 years old in a pyramid-shaped cemetery that now sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Lima, experts said.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.