Friendships & The Self

In this article we examine the role of friendships on the development of the Self, and present you with sample Questions related to Friendships for improving your Self Awareness.

A friendship is a simple relation of mutual affection between two people. Although the idea is simple, it forms one of the most important foundations of development of the Social Self.

Early Age Friendships

Our early age friendships are predominantly chosen by our parents & caretakers. While children do get to choose their friends within the set, or their class, their class / school / environment is chosen by their parents. Moreover, while friendship in adult life is driven by choice, the paradigm for that choice is set during our early childhood years.

While we have all the freedom to choose our friends in adult life, the actual behaviour and preference for exercising that choice is set in the early years of our childhood, when we have limited options governed by our parents & the socio cultural environment.

Adult Friendships

Friendships have a very high psychological impact on our sense of Self. According to Jean Piaget, one’s friends have a greater influence on the development of Morality & Ethics, than one’s parents. According to Bandura, we learn a lot through our social interactions & vicarious reinforcement through our friendships. An understand of your behaviour related to friendships can also shed light on your attachment style and relationship issues such as co-dependence etc.

Questions for Self Awareness

The main theme of Self Awareness questions related to the topic of Friendship is to understand what our friendships (our behaviour with our friends & our choices of Friends) tell us about ourselves. The following are some sample questions on this topic.

  • What have you learned about yourself, via your friendships?
  • How many of your early age friends are still in your active social circle? Your active social circle is people you would make an effort to stay in touch with, communicate with at least once a month.
  • Name your current three best friends. These are the three people you spend the most time with voluntarily. Why do you consider them your best friends? Write about the things that you do not like about each one of them.
  • What kind of activities do you do with your best friends? Are you close friendships driven by activity or by emotional intimacy?
  • Do you have a close friend of the opposite sex? Would you date any of them or have a relationship with any of them? If yes, what could be the potential unwanted consequence? If no, why not? Why would you not date them or have a relationship with them?
  • Are you currently happy with the state of your friendships? Would you like to change any aspect of your close friendships?