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Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Study

How Well Do You Know Your Best Friend?

Submission: January 01, 2018;Published: February 16, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/PPRS.2018.01.000501

ISSN 2639-0612
Volume1 Issue1


Previous research supports that romantic partners view one another’s attributes more favorably than their partners self-reported attributes. Furthermore, research has shown that relationship satisfaction and self-esteem have been positively associated with idealistic perceptions of one’s romantic partner. Yet, it is not clear if trends of idealization exist amongst close friends and how such trends might correlate with measures of selfesteem and friendship satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to analyze perceptual differences amongst pairs of friends across an array of positive and negative interpersonal attributes. To provide baselines for assessing friendship idealization, male and female undergraduate students at Princeton University were asked to rate themselves, a close friend, and their ideal friend across a variety of characteristics. Participants were also asked to indicate measures of friendship satisfaction, self-esteem, and closeness. Analyses revealed that friends viewed one another more positively than they viewed themselves. Furthermore, individuals’ impressions of their friends were more a mirror of their ideals than a reflection of their friends’ self-reported attributes; however, no correlation was found between levels of idealization and reported measures of friendship satisfaction, self-esteem, or closeness. Gender differences were minimal, excluding perceived measures of friendship closeness; women viewed their friendships as closer than men did. These results suggest that individuals idealize their close friends’ interpersonal attributes, although the motivation to do so cannot be generalized.

Keywords: Idealistic versus realistic perceptions of friend; Friendship satisfaction; Self-esteem; Friendship intimacy

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