According to a new study by Leipzig University researchers, unlike lofty sentiments or shared interests that inspired friendships in the past, today it is more a matter of convenience and proximity. The friendships today are based on more superficial factors like nearness or group assignments within the workplace
The study analysed 54 college freshmen, in an attempt to determine the quality and durability of modern friendships.
According to the study, the mere fact of being seated in neighbouring chairs for the first time, as a result of randomly assigned numbers, led to higher ratings of friendship intensity one year later. The same was true even if participants were merely in the same row.
Conversely, the finding suggests that friendships may not be as deliberate as we think. “In a nutshell,” wrote the authors, “people may become friends simply because they drew the right random number.”
These findings have been reported in a recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.