These are the traits most of us want in a friend (and the ones we don’t)
Written by Amy Beecham
What ‘type’ of people make the best and worst friends?
Most of us know all too well that the dating landscape in 2022 is obsessed with ‘types’, the arbitrary physical and emotional qualities we use to gauge our attraction to someone. Dating app bios proudly declare that the user is looking for someone outdoorsy, who loves adventure or doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The more direct among them might even share exactly what they’re not looking for, based on politics, world views or even horoscopes (no Geminis, please!).
Between types, green flags and icks, it seems we know what we want (and more importantly, what we don’t) more than ever – and not just in our dating lives. A recent study into friendship preferences published in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that we have most desired and undesired personality traits in our friends, too.
Unsurprisingly, researchers found that the most desired traits in friends were honesty, ethicality, pleasantness and availability, while the most undesired traits were dishonesty, competitiveness and impatience. What’s more, thepreference they discoveredfor friends who are smart, pleasant and fun over those who are impassionate or pessimistic suggests people seek quality social input. Of course, people want friends they can have a good time with. But the importance placed on availability and ethics, and in turn rejection of competition, demonstrates what psychologists call “high-value friendships”.
As lifestyle writer Jane-Frances explains in her article How To Make High Value Friends And Upgrade Your Social Circle, “high-value friends are friends who know their worth, exhibit high-value traits such as high standards, independence, self-confidence and self-discipline among others and have a lot to offer to the friendship such as support, opportunities and great advice”.
“High-value friends invest in you as much as you invest in them. They are friends worth the investment of time, energy and resources. They challenge you and make you strive to become a better version of yourself. These are people who have their lives together, can add value to your life and help you grow professionally and emotionally,” she continues.
It’s true: there really is little worse than pouring all of your effort into a one-sided friendship, so these relationships are based around a mutual exchange: of time, care and emotional support.
The study ultimately concluded that the best kind of friends are those who facilitate cooperation and mutual support, who are discreet, tolerant, empathetic, fun, smart and alike to the individual.
As for friends who are always trying to one-up you? “High[ly] competitive and jealous individuals would prefer to see others, including their ‘friends’, doing worse than them… and thus, they would be less likely to assist them in times of need,” the researchers explain.
Solid friendship advice indeed.
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