Friends are people we share common interests with, who have the same values and morals, who cheer us up when we are down and who truly understand us. At least that’s what we would like to think. However, new research from psychologists in Leipzig shows that friendships are actually down to chance happenings.
The actor Peter Ustinov once famously said that friends were not people you like the best, they were just the ones who got there first. He seemed to understand that friendship developed out of just being with people.
The German researchers did a year-long study having randomly allocated a group of students to particular seats upon their first arriving at university. The students who were randomly seated next to each other on their first day at university reported strong friendships between each other at the end of the year. People in the same row of seats as each other also had stronger friendships than people who were not physically connected in any way.
The study had several other measurements which were made, but it does show that chance plays a significant role in determining our friends.
Online, you can bump into people all over the place. But being in the same groups on Facebook, for instance, makes it more likely that those people will become real friends. Similarly, if you are in the same club on Ecademy, you are more likely to be friendly than if you are not involved in any clubs.
What does this all mean you should do in terms of social networking? It suggests that merely being involved will get you friends. And once those people feel closer to you they are more likely to want to help you. In other words, if you ignore social networking you will reduce your likelihood of having real online friends who can do you and your business some real good.
So, get stuck in, randomly join clubs and groups and before you know it you will have a whole host of people helping you succeed.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+