Positive feelings in friendship: Does imbalance in the relationship matter?
We examined predictors of positive feelings in friendship. Pairs of same-sex (female - female) and cross-sex (female - male) friends completed questionnaires about each other. Positive feelings covaried directly with friendship level (e.g., best versus good) and with benefits from the relationship (i.e., the degree to which friendship functions were fulfilled); but various measures of imbalance in the relationship - net benefit, unsigned net benefit, and inequality - did not improve prediction. Nonetheless, there was limited evidence that, independent of other predictors, positive feelings covaried inversely with inequity (i.e., with the degree to which the net benefit-to-contribution ratios of the two friends differed). Because positive feelings mainly reflect the degree to which friendship functions are fulfilled, the data support a functional view of friendship. However, if imbalance in a friendship is at all important, it appears to be imbalance measured in terms of inequity.
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