What Is a Good Friend: A Qualitative Analysis of Desired Friendship Qualities
Interpersonal attraction leads to friendships and romantic relationships. Research has focused on three specific factors that contribute to interpersonal attraction: the propinquity effect, similarity, and attractiveness. These factors have been found to have a significant effect on who we befriend; thus it was hypothesized that individuals should highlight these factors above others when describing what they desire in a close friend. The present study analyzes similarity, proximity, and attractiveness in regards to friendship selection examining qualitative data collected on the website www.AuthenticHappiness.com. Each participant provided data on what qualities they looked for in close friends, and each description was analyzed and coded. It was found that participants do consider these factors when analyzing their own attraction to individuals; however, qualities such as trust, honesty, and supportiveness were highlighted to a greater extent. Similarity, proximity, and attractiveness were not the most mentioned factors in the self-reported data, thus not supporting the hypothesis proposed. It is then suggested that similarity, proximity, and attractiveness can also work in negative ways: Individuals can come to dislike a person in the presence of these factors. Similarity, proximity, and attractiveness are important when selecting close friends, but other factors account for more.