Ask the class:
- How far do you agree with the number of best friends stated in the report?
- What makes a good friend?
- Why do good friendships sometimes break down?
Divide the class into groups and get them to try and agree an answer to the following questions:
1. What is friendship?
A mutual relationship with a person whom one knows, likes and trusts.
2. What are the most important rules in a friendship?
Social psychologists, Argyle and Henderson, studied this in 1984 and give the following rules they found all across the world:
3. Why do friends make us feel happy?
- Share news
- Show emotional support
- Volunteer help in times of need
- Repay debts and favours
- Trust and confide in the other
- Stand up for the other in their absence
- Don't criticise in public
- Keep confidences
- Don't be jealous or critical of other friendships
- Respect each other's privacy
Social psychologists, Freud and Dann, gave the following reasons in 1951:
- Enjoy shared experiences
- We get positive feedback from mutual body language (smiling etc)
- Support in a crisis
- You learn more about yourself by comparing with friends
Ask students the question: "What causes friendships to break down?"
Social psychologists give the following reasons:
- One person moves away (reverses proximity and familiarity)
- Abuse of trust (deception)
- Life changes
- Lack of communication
Recap on the main teaching points and hear students' responses to the question in the extension activity.
- When asked what makes your life meaningful, one of the most common answers is close friends.
- Male friendships tend to be less intense emotionally than female.
- Relationships are maintained in two ways: preventative care (doing things together) and repair (talking the problem over).
- Later-born children who must learn to negotiate with older, more powerful siblings tend to be more popular than first-borns (Hargreaves, 1967).
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