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IU psychologist speaks on nurturing differences in friendships

IU psychologist speaks on nurturing differences in friendships

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A recent study explored how certain personality traits can impact how people perceive their friendships.

In the report based in Germany, an online survey of 200 pairs of friends whose friendships lasted an average of 10 years was conducted. Results showed that people who rated themselves as more extroverted, agreeable, and emotionally stable were more likely to say they felt satisfied with their friendships.

Dr. Danielle Henderson, a clinical psychologist from Indiana University, investigated the report.

“I think we can have mismatches in our friendships,” Henderson said. “I think it’s about what’s most important to you during that time in your life and what you find important with being together.”

The study showed if you’re more happy, warm, and outgoing by nature, you are more likely to see your friendships in positive ways, too. This can help build supportive relationships with people who are more withdrawn and moody.

Henderson says people should be ready to start new relationships.

“When seeking new friendships, ask, ‘What time do I have to devote to a new friendship and what healing do I need to do to heal from past relationships that maybe didn’t work out?’” Henderson said.

She adds that there are many ways to create new friendships.

“If I feel like I’m ready to make a new friend or meet somebody, are there people that I’ll see as part of my day that I can say ‘hi’ to or maybe even more,” Henderson said. “Go to a new workout class and talk to people there. Go to a place of worship. Sometimes, those are really cool places to grow your networks”

Researchers found that satisfaction with a friendship was unrelated to how similar two friends’ personality ratings were.

Henderson also explained the value of having a supportive network.

“It’s incredibly important to have people who you feel you can trust,” Henderson said. “Who you feel like are there for you in your time of need and can provide that support, whether it’s a phone call or some time together. Support really gets us through a lot. We can not do this on our own.”

The study can be read here.