We’ve all heard of love at first sight, but have you ever felt like you fell for a friend at first sight? Research suggests that most people have, and actual scientific studies have been done to back up the claims. Not only is friendship at first sight real, but researchers seem to have narrowed down the reasons for it. If you immediately felt a bond for your now long-time friend on day one, it’s probably because of these factors that researchers have identified as what makes friendship chemistry spark.
First impressions. We know you’ve heard that first impressions are important but aren’t always correct. Well, when it comes to friendship at first sight and friendship chemistry, first impressions are pretty crucial. Even if your first impression of someone is incorrect, it is what will or will not lead you to pursue a relationship with them.
Motivation. Those who experience a mutually positive first impression are more motivated to try and become real friends than others. So while first impressions aren’t necessarily everything, they do play a pretty big role sometimes.
Instincts. Friendship at first sight also has a lot to do with following your instincts. You know when you just get the right vibes off of someone? Well, that’s the less scientific way of putting “friendship chemistry” into words.
Friendship at first sight. Think about your friendships. Is there one, or possibly more than one, that stands out as being more memorable than the others? Was there just something about that person that just made you feel instantly connected to them? If you answered “yes”, science may have figured out an explanation for it.
Who is most likely to have it happen to them? People who are generally more agreeable, open, and conscientious tend to experience friendship chemistry more than others. These kinds of people are also more likely to experience a positive first impression. Those who are generally more closed off or reserved are less likely.
Women tend to fall in friendship at first sight more often than men do. Research shows that women tend to experience this friendship phenomenon more often than men do, perhaps because men and women are socialized differently from a young age. Women are generally more encouraged to be open and loving and depend more on emotion.
Friendship chemistry. In a recent study published in The Social Science Journal, researchers pinpointed the basis for friendship chemistry as being mainly reliant on five factors. These five factors included reciprocal candor, mutual interest, personableness, similarity, and physical attractiveness. Within each category there were various subsets of characteristics.
Reciprocal candor. All this phrase really means is that friends who express intimate experiences, affection, and details to each other have better friendship chemistry. This aspect of friendship has a lot to do with communication. The more superficial your communication, the lower your friendship chemistry.
Mutual interest. Traits that go into finding a friend who shares mutual interests are things like sense of humor, how interesting that person is to you, and what your mood is generally like around that person. When you think about seeing your friend, do you get excited about it?
Similarity. When it comes to similarities, researchers found that the most important issues to consider in friendship chemistry are things like similar values, beliefs, goals, and even levels of education. It has more to do with similarities on a moral and personal level than on a superficial level.
Similar age and ethnicity are not that relevant. Because value judgments are more important than superficial judgements when it comes to friendship chemistry, a person’s age or ethnicity really doesn’t matter much. Similarity doesn’t mean you necessarily look alike or come from the same place, but rather that you have similar worldviews.
Personableness. The personableness factor includes expressions of warmth, kindness, consideration, and understanding. How caring and genuine the person is toward other people is also extremely important. So is the quality of being down-to-earth.
Physical attraction. Believe it or not, physical attraction is one of the five main factors in determining friendship chemistry. We don’t just care about a person’s physical attributes when it comes to love, but when it comes to friendship, too. In the study, participants were shown pictures of actual friendship pairs and rated them as more similar in attractiveness than false friendship pairs. Why is this so important? People associate physical attractiveness with other desirable qualities like social and professional happiness and status.
Lasting friendships. More studies need to be done to determine if friendship at first sight has a positive or negative impact, generally speaking, on the length of a relationship. Are two friends who hit it off immediately more likely to stay friends for years or fizzle out? This is one of the questions that future friendship chemistry studies will focus on.
Friendship chemistry might decrease with age. Sad, but true. Those of us who have gotten on in years have probably already started to realize this. As work, family life, and other things take up our time, our friendship chemistry tends to decrease. We’re less likely to make new friends in general, let alone fall in friendship at first sight.