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In 1935, the
tradition of celebrating Friendship Day began. The Congress of the United
States decided to dedicate a day to honor friends. After the devastation of the
first World War and the aftermath of mistrust and hatred between countries, people
were at a greater need for friendships among individuals (Bell, 2014). However,
the formation of friendship starts from childhood. At
the young ages of three, kids experience quick friendships. Children constantly
meet mates at the daycare or the playground. Such mates are called
“friends” as long as they are participating in some enjoyable
activity. Mates eventually get tired of the activity and move to another activity
making another friend. At this time, brief and common quarrels, usually happen,
for example, who goes first down the slide. At this moment, children begin to
develop the social abilities necessary for forming durable friendships. They
learn to take turns and manage their inner emotions. Furthermore, as children become
accustomed and comfortable with the playmates they meet repeatedly, they choose
to spend more time with those “friends” (Howes 1996; Rose & Asher 2000).

Between the ages of nine and twelve years old, children
respond to the different values, beliefs, and attitudes of the other person. They
learn to observe and be observed as well. With this ability, a child can take
the perspective of the other, outside of the self and respond to the observations
the other has made. This enables them to form friendships that share same
beliefs, ideas, interests, and feelings, and provide rewards to each other, Rawlins
(1992).

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At preadolescence between the ages ten
to fourteen, children develop the ability to respond to other children in terms
of personality traits (nice, clever, selfish), styles, special interests (sports,
video games) and attitudes. Preadolescents experience the need for
interpersonal closeness with the same-sex, girl friendship and boy friendship.

Friends at this stage are considered to be “real” friends. The friendship requires
being loyal to one another, empathetic, understanding, and share common daily
activities that are express with intensity and immediacy. At this stage,
preadolescent share personal thoughts and express feelings freely and careless.

Moving to adolescence, they begin to
experience friendship in its complete form, as a lasting relationship and
mutual interests and concerns. As these friendships are formed, they experience
and show compassion, unselfishness, and loyalty. In any case, there is a dark
side to adolescent friendships. Since they are intense and selective, they
often encourage dislike between sets of friends. At times, the friends
themselves become competitive and jealous, leading the friendship to end for a
short period of time. At this point, the individuals have an idea of what friendship
is and the relationship continues despite the darker side. Meanwhile,
adolescents still view parents as an important source of support but perceive
friendship as a provision of a nonjudgmental, trustful and
caring environment, this helps the adolescent develop a sense of identity by
offering, “a climate of growth and self-knowledge that the family is not
equipped for” (Douvan and Adelson 1966, p. 174). At the period of young
adulthood, friendships are meaningful and committed. As people enter middle age, they have
more responsibilities and demands on their time. It becomes easier to put off
seeing a friend as opposed to be with family or attend an important business
meeting. During this time seeing a friend diminishes and there is a bittersweet
aspect of friendship, those who helped the individual make decisions and help
her or him develop a deeper understanding of self takes a lesser priority
because there is not enough time to spend with the friend. 

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