And, apparently you can make friends fast! How? Read on…
This is based on a study called
The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness and the results are pretty neat. Here’s the larger abstract:
A practical methodology is presented for creating closeness in an experimental context. Whether or not an individual is in a relationship, particular pairings of individuals in the relationship, and circumstances of relationship development become manipulated variables.
Over a 45-min period subject pairs carry out self-disclosure and relationship-building tasks that gradually escalate in intensity. Study 1 found greater post-interaction closeness with these tasks versus comparable small-talk tasks.
Studies 2 and 3 found no significant closeness effects, inspite of adequate power, for (a) whether pairs were matched for non-disagreement on important attitudes, (b) whether pairs were led to expect mutual liking, or (c) whether getting close was made an explicit goal.
These studies also illustrated applications for addressing theoretical issues, yielding provocative tentative findings relating to attachment style and introversion/extraversion.
You can get a copy of the research yourself right here:
What does it mean when we say “closeness”?
To define closeness, or intimacy of a relationship, they use something called “the inclusion of other in the self,” which represent a state in which each subject of a relationship feels their innermost self to be validated, understood, and cared for by the other. Some other definitions of closeness — such as the one I would use for friendships — take interpersonal closeness to include behavioral interaction. In other words, the time spent together and common activities undertaken – behaving close. However, most can agree on closeness having to involve some aspect of feeling close to have any chance of enduring and improving.
Okay, so… that’s it? Well, it’s actually quite simple — surprising yet unsurprising:
A gradual escalation of self-disclosure and intimacy-related behavior by both partners.
So, if you want to build closeness, fast, and are motivated to do this consistently over a long period of time, you’ll find yourself on track with making a new friend.