Psychological and Educational Aspects of Friendship
Friendship is the close interconnection between two or several people, and it influences the psychological state of people. It is connected with experiencing strong positive emotions, increasing the well-being of an individual (Wentzel et al., 2018). In that way, friendship profoundly affects people’s psychological health, especially teenagers in schools and universities. It increases academic success, in general, as having positive emotions increases the motivation for learning. They create a feeling of safety and relaxation, in which studying becomes much more efficient.
Along with positive emotions, healthy friendships increase self-esteem, directly associated with life success. According to Maunder & Monks (2018), children in middle school who have friends, especially best friends, have a higher level of self-worth. They are more confident in their strength and knowledge, and thus classwork and homework are much easier for them. Friendship in school can be generally associated with social responsiveness: it measures students’ emotional well-being in a classroom (Mamas et al., 2019). To increase it, teachers and educational leaders should pay attention to the social dynamics in the class and ensure that students are feeling well.
High cognitive abilities are much easier to achieve when the individual’s emotional state is stable and positive. Friendship increases positive emotions, creating a good basis for cognitive enhancement. Friends often motivate each other to achieve better results via direct motivational conversations or indirect positive expectations from each other. Along with them, psychological and educational aspects are connected more directly: the exchange of knowledge between close friends is common (Wentzel et al., 2018). They help each other to better understand various subjects and, thus, have better results in their lives. In that way, friends tend to educate each other, increasing the level of knowledge and creating new opportunities for each other’s cognitive abilities.
It is important to mention that friendship quality is an important factor in the psychological aspect of friendship. Those students who refer to some of their friends as the best friends have more vivid qualities of self-esteem and an optimistic worldview (Maunder & Monks, 2018). Such friendship is associated with a higher level of closeness and the desire to help each other, which is beneficial for the psychical health of both friends. In that way, the psychological aspect of friendship is connected with one’s emotional well-being and its influence on it. It is associated with the educational aspect, as good well-being is connected with good cognitive abilities and academic results.
Sociological and Educational Aspects of Friendship
Sociological aspects, unlike psychological, treat friendship as the social process and focus on various social benefits which one can obtain via friendship, rather than one’s psychological state. For example, there is evidence that peers with friends have higher grades than those who prefer to be alone (Wentzel et al., 2018). It is not only due to their better well-being and a higher level of positive emotions, but friends also help to solve problems and complete homework better. When friends make those activities together, they engage in active conversation, sharing their opinions and knowledge and enriching each other in it. Some of them can know facts and methods which others do not know, and vice versa: in that way, they become much intellectually stronger together.
The concept of social capital is central to the sociological aspect of friendship, as it means the system of social connections and all resources accessed via them. Those can be borrowed or traded according to the level of the relationship with each particular social contact (Mamas et al., 2019). Another aspect of social capital is the information exchanged via conversations with social contacts, which can be extremely valuable. For example, it can help find a better job or enroll in a good university. Such connections can be highly beneficial, which is why social capital is an integral part of the sociological aspect of friendship.
Social networks are now usually defined as Internet resources where one can find other people and communicate with them. Here, this term has a broader meaning: a way of describing the system of social interactions, based on connections between people (Mamas et al., 2019). Each connection is described separately, based on its qualities such as strength, priority, emotions associated with it, information flow between two people. This approach allows describing the friendship and its sociological context, analyzing each connection and its importance in the particular social system, such as a classroom. It can be used to evaluate the social responsiveness among students and find ways to increase their well-being.
Thus, it is connected with the educational aspect, as good social capital provides good possibilities for obtaining a quality education. The psychological aspect is concerned by the positive state of the individual, such as good self-esteem; the sociological one is connected with the health of the whole collective (Maunder & Monks, 2018). In that way, sociological and psychological aspects of friendship are deeply interconnected, being two parts of one process. Both are connected with the educational aspect, facilitating the learning process, cognitive abilities, and information flow between people.
Mamas, C., Daly, A. J., Struyve, C., Kaimi, I., & Michail, G. (2019). Learning, friendship, and social contexts. International Journal of Educational Management, 33(6), 1255–1270. Web.
Maunder, R., & Monks, C. P. (2018). Friendships in middle childhood: Links to peer and school identification, and general self‐worth. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 37(2), 211–229.
Wentzel, K. R., Jablansky, S., & Scalise, N. R. (2018). Do friendships afford academic benefits? A meta-analytic study. Educational Psychology Review, 30(4), 1241–1267. Web.