Close friends?

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I came across a pretty interesting piece today on the importance of proximity and background (e.g., race, religion, similar experiences) on in forming friendships. The reporter is looking particularly at how this plays out in college and the longevity of those friendships, but the general data is applicable across the board.

As we talk about community within the church, I am interested in how this shapes both how we define community, why we often struggle with the importance of diversity within local churches, and how this impacts the shaping of small group communities within the church.

Take a listen to it and let me know what you think.

2 thoughts on “Close friends?

  1. What helps people hit it off is often short and shallow… and that’s fine. The stuff that makes a relationship for the long haul is built on much more substantial characteristics such as trust, loyalty, respect, etc…

    It’s funny looking back though how some of the best of friendships start with the shallowest commonalities!

  2. That’s so true, Brian. I think that we often start relationships based on, as you said, “the shallowest commonalities” or sometimes even simple necessity, that can then move further and deeper.

    However, I do believe the NPR article’s point is true that some friendships would not develop at all if not for the “shallow commonality” of proximity or cultural similarity.

    For example, my first year roommate in college became one of my deepest friends throughout my college experience. If not for being forced into such proximity, I do not believe we would have met at all, let alone develop a deeper relationship built on trust, loyalty, respect, etc.

    So, as I heard this NPR piece, I couldn’t help but wonder if small group or spiritual formation ministries (to reference our work) often fail to utilize one of the easiest means of working people into ongoing relationships: proximity and cultural similarities.

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