24th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development

July 10-14, 2016 | Vilnius, Lithuania

Brett Laursen

"Making and Keeping Friends:  The Importance of Being Similar"

Friends matter, especially during the transition into adolescence.  Adolescents with friends are better adjusted than those without and at-risk adolescents who make new friends are less likely to suffer from debilitating outcomes compared with adolescents who become friendless.  But what do we know about how friendships start and why they end?  Two competing theories will be considered.  The first focuses on characteristics of individuals.  Adolescents seek desirable, well-adjusted partners for friends.  The second focuses on characteristics of dyads.  Adolescents seek friendships with similar others.  Evidence for each will be reviewed.  Findings suggest that similarity best predicts friendship initiation and stability.  Bad habits are not necessarily bad for friendships, so long as they are shared by both friends.