Adolescents' Friendship: As They See It
Adolescence as a stage of life varies across cultures. Adolescence is an exciting time of great challenges, opportunities, and growth. It is during adolescence, more than any other stage in life that individuals come to explore who they are and how they want to interact with others. It is the development of an identity in which an individual is quiet confident in his or her abilities and able to develop and maintain mutually satisfying relationships that marks the transition from adolescence into adulthood (Goonan. B, 2005). The present study was conceptualized considering the importance of relationships in an adolescents’ life. The study is descriptive in nature and aims to understand friendship pattern among adolescents (13-17 years), across age and gender. The sample was from the middle-income group families of Vadodara city, India. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used for sample selection. Qualitative data was collected which was analyzed and interpreted. The results indicated that trust, good behavior and helpfulness were the most preferred qualities expected for friendship across age and gender. Friendship pattern was explored on three components: time, mode of contact, and most preferred activity. Academics were the main reason to have friends among both the sex. Parental and societal restrictions were found to be the main factors for not selecting mixed sex friends. Difference was found among older and younger age groups where older adolescents focus more on maintaining relationship whereas younger adolescent valued the need to help and share with others. Majority of the adolescents found to be influenced by their friends on aspects of behavior, academics, and physical attributes. Girls were found to be more possessive and indicated higher level of emotional investment in their relationship than boys. The discussion highlights the socialization trends in Indian context, which leads to setting a definite thought pattern and role discrimination among adolescents on the basis of sex. The present study has implications for parents, teachers, educators, counselors and all those working directly and indirectly for adolescents and for adolescents themselves.
Keywords: Frienship Pattern, Adolescents, Socialization Trend
Dr. Sangeeta Chaudhary
Senior Lecturer, The Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Mrs. Elizabeth Sherin Varghese
Program Officer, Pratham