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Is being friends with people you don’t like an important part of social skills?

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The present research extends the use of a new scheme for classifying children’s peer relationships that (a) jointly evaluates friendship and antipathy nominations and (b) includes nonreciprocated friend and antipathy nominations. Findings revealed that 12.1% of all classroom dyads (total dyads = 2,313) were unbalanced relationships, in which one child perceived a friendship but was disliked by the other child. Furthermore, having high frequencies of “befriending but disliked” relationships was associated with poor social competence and having high frequencies of “disliking but befriended” relationships was associated with good social competence. Results support the use of this new classification scheme by highlighting the common nature of unbalanced relationships and by establishing the association of unbalanced relationships to peer social competence outcomes.

Source: “Beyond relationship reciprocity: A consideration of varied forms of children’s relationships” from Personal Relationships

To some this may seem obvious, to others it may seem Machiavellian. If you’re curious about Machiavellian skills (or those that could be seen as such) I recommend The Prince, Cialdini’s seminal book Influence, and Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t.   

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About Eric Barker