03 April, 2024

The unique qualities and benefits of friendship in school and across the lifespan

Friendship - Friendship

Friendship is a remarkable bond that enriches our lives in countless ways. From childhood to old age, friends play a crucial role in shaping our experiences and supporting us through life's ups and downs. Understanding the unique qualities of friendship and its wide-ranging benefits is essential for nurturing these valuable relationships. “This is also true for students’ school life”, says M. Sc. Andrea Slaus Kokotovic, Professor in Psychology and Head of Psychology at Regents International School Pattaya.


Friendship - Friendship



M. Sc. Andrea Slaus Kokotovic continues, “Human beings are social animals and social relationship affect how we live and how we feel about the experience of living. Our ties to others originate in an innate need to establish relationships and there are some unique qualities of friendships.”


1.    Voluntary association and personal satisfaction

Friendship is a voluntary association between equals, where the primary goal is enjoyment and personal satisfaction. Unlike many other relationships, friendships are not bound by social or legal rules but thrive on mutual respect and shared experiences.


2.    Lifelong role of friends

The role of a friend is present throughout a life's journey, from early childhood to old age. Friends provide companionship, support, and a sense of belonging that remains constant and comforting across different life stages.


3.    Basis in similarity and trust

Friendship is often based on similarity, as shared interests and values form the foundation of a strong bond. Trust is another essential element of friendship, as it fosters openness, honesty, and a sense of security in the relationship.


4.    Varied Purposes and Roles

Friendship serves many purposes that may vary based on life stage or circumstances. Different friends may play different roles, providing stimulation, support, or companionship based on individual needs and preferences.


5.    Psychological and physical benefits

Research indicates that close friendships are associated with greater happiness, self-esteem, and a sense of purpose. For adults, these bonds are linked to physical outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. Positive peer relationships in adolescence are correlated with better mental health in later life.


“Friendship is a unique and valuable relationship that enhances all of our lives in myriad ways – so also for students in school. Understanding the qualities that define friendship and the benefits it offers can help parents in their communication with their children, and students to appreciate and nurture these important bonds throughout their time in school.”, concluded M. Sc. Andrea Slaus Kokotovic, Professor in Psychology and Head of Psychology at Regents International School Pattaya.