Nathalie Jonsson

Science Writer 

To Friend Or Not To Friend


I have to admit, I have disliked people enough to leave an entire group behind. I have distanced myself just to escape one individual. The energy spent on trying to accept the values, or sometimes general personality, of some is just not worth your effort. You only live once and your time is better spent on people you like.

‘Balance Theory’ reckons that we strive for harmony within a group. Whenever there is a difference of opinions or if two individuals dislike each other, some people are prone to take action to restore harmony. The solution that jeopardises the least for the group will win.

Sometimes it could mean that you have to change your opinion or that you choose to physically remove yourself from the situation. On what grounds you will respond to tension can be measured with the Preference for Consistency (PFC) scale. A high PFC score means that you wish to remain consistent in your actions and also that you value preexisting knowledge when making choices. Low PFC score makes you quite open to consider information then and there.

Regardless of your score, the people we get on best with are strangers (although with a high PFC you will prefer strangers extra if you know that you will have to encounter them again). Which is an obvious advantage for making new friends, but could also set you off on the path towards utter disaster. You have to give it a go to know for sure.

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