True friendship knows no timing. You just happen to fall into the arms of a person who learns to love you like a sibling. It is not planned in advance, and that is the beauty of it. Sometimes the bond builds at random—laughter shared in the classroom, eyes rolled simultaneously in the crowded metro train, through mutual friends, through traveling and many more such things. It starts out by eager meetings then, discovering what you have in common, amazement at the fact that you have so much in common. And then the connection grows over time- sharing the intricacies of life with each other, sharing the pain and laughter, long chats over the phone with deep discussions sometimes and carefree banter at other times. A string of intricate moments unfold that create an unbreakable bond.
True friendship knows no fear. True friends are a team, it’s them against the world. No one can stand in their way once they are together. True friends always have each other’s’ backs and they never let the other feel alone. True friends are the family we choose.
True friendship knows no limits. In the sense that you can walk into one another’s rooms, browse the wardrobe and wear their favourite shirt. Nothing is hidden from each other, there are no secrets, and nothing is off-limits in conversation; both parties can peel back their layers and lay out their broken pieces without judgement, without holding back.
True friendship knows no separation. Not even when there is a physical distance or the timing becomes a challenge. Not when the days are too long and the phone calls fade from often to a few times a month. True friends may not see each other every single day but that does not tarnish their bond one bit. It is strong as ever. Every conversation is fresh. Every meeting is fun. And even when they are apart, there is no malice in their hearts.
Even when life gets complicated, true friendship remains.
True friendship has no end. The connection between true friends does not fade over the years. They make an effort to stay in each other’s’ lives. They text each other, call each other and visit each other. The important events in their lives are shared. They stay the voice of reason for each other, even if they’re talking through a telephone and not physically able to hold one another’s hands.
True friends stay. Because true friends don’t abandon each other when trouble strikes, they never make excuses to avoid inconvenience and never take the easier way out. They stick through the mess and celebrate together later on.
Regardless of how far, how long, how difficult—true friendship continues, true friendship believes.
Here is the Friendship Formula.
The Friendship Formula, as detailed by Dr. Schafer, is simple to understand yet profound in its implications. The formula goes as follows:
Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity
Here are some depictions of each function in the formula:
- Proximity is the physical distance between you and another person. For example, if you sit next to someone in class, you will have a better chance of connecting with them than if they sit on the other side of the room.
- Frequency is the number of times you come across the other person. If you happen to know they have a hobby, it is a good idea to join an activity class with them. It is only natural that you will get to see them a lot more and be around them this way. It will help you establish a bond with them.
- Duration is the length of time you spend with the person each time you see them. You’re more likely to build a stronger connection with the person sitting next to you at work than someone you meet once a week or so. It is simply because you spend a lot more time with that person.
- Intensity is how well you are connecting (physically and psychologically) with the other person through verbal and nonverbal communication. The more intellectually and emotionally stimulating a conversation, the closer to each others’ core values you get, the more you can make a person laugh, and the more comfortable the social touching, the more you will connect with the other person.
If there’s someone you want to know or befriend, start by increasing your proximity with them. Be around that person, but not in an obvious or imposing manner. The goal is to become acquainted with them so that they are comfortable with you being around. Slowly increase the frequency of time you are around that person.
Once you’ve increased the amount of time you’re around, extend the duration of time spent. There can be some intensity (light, pleasant conversation), but after some time you can delve into some deeper topics. This is also a great way to make friends and break the ice when you have a new place to work or interact with someone at a party.
The next time you meet someone new and feel like jumping into the conversation, calm yourself down. While being overenthusiastic in life can sometimes be a good thing; when it comes to friendships, it’s best to take it slow. While meeting new people can be exciting, if not a little nerve-racking, the Friendship Formula can help you master true connections.