The Formula for Friends

Wed, Apr 7, 2021 2-minute read

The Formula for Friends

As we get older, many feel making friends gets harder and harder.

Bad news is making friends get harder as we get older.

Good news is making friends doesn’t really get harder.

Dr. Jack Schafer developed the friendship formula to help FBI agents and others build relationships: Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity

We are more likely to build relationships with people we see frequently and are in proximity with. If we see people less frequently, then we can increase the duration and intensity of the experiences, while people we see often can have lower duration and intensity.

The formula can be applied to existing relationships too. If we are in a struggling romantic relationship or have a failing friendship, taking a look at the features of the formula can tell where to adjust for salvaging the relationship.

If we want to sever ties with someone, we can reduce the interactions using the formulas to slowly sever ties with the other person or people.

I’ve reduced the frequency and duration of contact to remove people from my life, and been on the other side where people have done it to me.

We build and maintain relationships through adjusting the above values based on our lives. As we get older, more things need our attention, causing the values to get lower for existing relationships, and start out low for new relationships.

Note: The formula assumes the other person has not signaled they are uninterested. Time can overcome some objections; however, don’t be a stalker, don’t be a creep, and no means no.