Chapter 1: The Meaning of Friendship Next Chapter

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The Meaning of Friendship
The meaning of friendship

A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1868)

Friendships are clearly a core aspect of our lives. Yet the scientific study of this important relationship is relatively recent. In this book, research on friendship is presented, integrated, and discussed in order to paint a portrait of what is currently known about this fascinating relationship. The focus will be on friendship processes—the “how” of friendship. I will draw on extant research to answer questions such as: How do friendships form? How do they become close? How are they maintained? and finally, How do friendships end? Most of the research on these issues has been conducted with college students. However, research on children's and adolescents' friendships ...

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