friendship, ideas

The Friendship Equation

February 26, 2015 | 2 Comments


The exchange of views I had with my friends on my 25th inspired several new insights on a theory or equation of friendship I have been pondering over. The equation involves two variables in determining the trajectory of a friendship – specifically, 1) wavelength (how easy two people ‘click’ with each other) and 2) frequency (how often the two share facets of their lives with each other). As seen from the above image, this is a spin-off from the wave equation in physics.

What I like about this equation is that it neatly resolves the false dichotomy between quality and quantity of time spent with each other in determining friendships that we typically treat as binary opposites: while it is true that wavelength between friends typically trump the amount of time spent with each other (λ > f) in a side-by-side comparison for establishing the trajectory of friendship1, initial wavelength without further effort invested into maintaining the friendship would eventuate in it falling into disrepair (λ x 0 = 0).

This equation also reflects how certain friendships never go pass the arbitrary and personalised threshold level for what we might otherwise call confidante since a low value in λ multiplied by a high value in f would still result in a small v.

P.S. I just wonder how much that goes into defining the wavelength we share with other individuals is wish-fulfilment and how much of it is real. After all, we are often told that the reality we perceive through our senses is an internalised one; it does not reflect the objective reality. Perhaps that is why in both friendships and relationships, one of the keys to a healthy maintainance of relations is periodic reassurances through visible gestures or acts, which vastly helps to resolve any uncertainties that might have germinated in the absense of amity. This should not, however, be confused with neediness, which is characterised by the need for constant reassurances.


1 Perhaps a more accurate representation of the equation would thus be v = f x, where ‘2’ is merely an arbitrary estimate reflecting the stronger weightage of λ as compared to f.

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  • Reply Lycia February 27, 2015 at 11:04 am

    why got equation one

    • Reply Nicholas February 27, 2015 at 11:18 am

      it’s a good way of representing my line of thought! esp since it matches the idea so perfectly

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