Scientific America: How to Be a Better Friend
April 11th 2013.
“When a pal is struggling, it can be awfully tempting to grab him by the scruff of his neck and just tell him exactly what he should do. After all, isn’t giving good advice part of being a good friend? Perhaps not, according to researchers who study self-determination. Edward Deci, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, has found that supporting a friend’s autonomy—that is, making him feel as if he can make his own choices—creates a better relationship and may even improve his mental health. In one study, Deci and his colleagues did in-depth interviews with pairs of friends and found that the more of this type of support there was from a friend, the more satisfied the partner was with the friendship and the higher self-esteem the person had. “When people are relating to you and acknowledging your sense of importance, your sense of competence, you feel better about yourself,” Deci adds. In other words, treating a friend like he’s got his act together could actually help him get there.”
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By Sunny Sea Gold