making friends is difficult for teenagers. Making friends with the opposite sex can be even more difficult. Our research, published in the Journal of Personality, suggests empathy can be the key to the development of friendships, and can be especially important for young men who establish supportive friendships with young women.
nearly 2000 years were studied 10 students (average age 15.7 years) through 16 schools. First they were asked to rate their own empathy, through statements such as: “. When someone feels down, usually you can understand how they feel”
Then he asked them to list up to five pairs five women who considered their closest friends and male.
The results were surprising. We found 1.8 children received more nominations friendship of the girls if they were high on empathy, compared with children with low empathy. By contrast, empathy did not help girls to attract more male friends.
social connection is essential for positive development. It’s like nutrition :. Remove and people are more likely to become depressed and unhealthy
We’re not entirely sure why women are so good at detecting empathy in children. Our best estimate is that detection of empathy helps women stay safe. Unempathetic males are more likely to be aggressive and violent. So women have to be good at detecting men who are supportive and can take perspective and act with kindness :. Males high on empathy
However, having many friends does not mean it has many good friends. In addition to measuring the number of friends, which measures the complementarity of friendships with questions such as: My close friend (s) … “give advice”, “help me when I need it”, “spend time with me when I m lonely “and” accept me when I make a mistake. ”
This measure will support friendship again revealed significant gender differences. The more friends you had a child, the more feel supported. Not so for girls. His sense of being supported was more determined by the quality of their friends, rather than quantity.
Most importantly, adolescents high in empathy were more likely to have friends very supportive. This was the case of children.
Friends are essential for positive adolescent development. We need to help young men and women to improve their empathy for the extension of empathy training in secondary schools, for example.
This will not only help young people build supportive friendships and long-lasting. It could also help reduce violence against girls and women.
The first step to promote empathy is to teach young people to value the ability to understand the emotions of someone else. Some young people think that empathy makes you weak or a “good guy” who does not “get the girl”. Our research dispels this myth. Instead, it shows that, friends of the opposite sex support are good for them, even if friendships are platonic.
Author: Joseph Ciarrochi, Professor of Psychology, Catholic University of Australia
Courtesy: The Conversation