Friends play an important part in our lives, and although we may take the friendship for granted, we often don't clearly understand how we make friends. While we get on well with a number of people, we are usually friends with only a very few, for example, the average among students is about 6 per person. In all the cases of friendly relationships, two people like one another and enjoy being together, but beyond that, the degree of intimacy between them and the reasons for their shared interest vary enormously. As we get to know people we take into account things like age, race, economic condition, social position, and intelligence. Although these factors are not of prime importance, it is more difficult to get on with people when there is a marked difference in age and background.
Some friendly relationships can be kept on argument and discussion, but it is usual for close friends to have similar ideas and beliefs, to have attitudes and interests in common—they often talk about "being on the same wavelength". It generally takes time to reach this point. And the more intimately involved people become, the more they rely on one another. People want to do friends favors and hate to break a promise. Equally, friends have to learn to put up with annoying habits and to tolerate differences of opinion.
In contrast with marriage, there are no friendship ceremonies to strengthen the association between two people. But the supporting and understanding of each other that results from shared experiences and emotions does seem to create a powerful bond, which can overcome differences in background, and break down barriers of age, class or race.