What becomes of our imaginary companions?

Tuesday, 24 June, 2014

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? What became of him or her? How did you write them out of your life once you reached a certain age? Were they simply forgotten about, pushed aside, or did you afford said companion a more… theatrical exit?

Adults in this exploratory study usually recalled that their childhood imaginary companions faded away or were dismissed as other options for social interaction became more appealing. However, eight participants reported that their IC had died. Analysis of these deaths offers a glimpse of the child’s talent for transitional thought processes that navigate between the emerging constraints of logic and the continuing appeal of fantasy.

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Imaginary friends and the seriously scary stuff they can get up to

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013

I guess most of us had at least one imaginary friend when we were young children, but none of the… companions I was familiar with, whether through my own experiences, or what (actual) friends with same said, were anything like this collection of stories.

While some of these tales may send shivers down your spine, I though number six was by far the… weirdest. Number fourteen ain’t bad either.

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I guess paid friends are a little like imaginary friends then?

Wednesday, 20 November, 2013

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can apparently pay for friends who you can then exert total control over.

According to one avid PF employer, “Once you’ve had paid friends who don’t argue with you, it’s actually quite hard to go back to real friends.” The ex-wife of a PF hoarder said “many really successful men don’t actually have time for real friends,” because normal friends “are either resentful or bitter or ask for money,” and that some “are often competitive.” She said that as a result, “very rich men have paid friends as an expensive filter, because they can control them.”

I wonder how one becomes a PF, or paid friend. It may be possible to make a living as a PPF, that is professional paid friend, if you can find enough clients to… work for.

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And how did you find it, long lost old friend? This life?

Friday, 22 March, 2013

Imagine, if you can, a chance encounter with someone you haven’t seen in 40 years, half a world away from where you once both lived, who was once a close friend. Then next imagine that said random meeting will most likely be the last time you ever this person:

We looked at each other with a mix of tenderness and befuddlement, moist-eyed. It was clear to both of us, after the five or ten minutes of our hasty conversation, that this chance meeting was the last time we ever were going to see each other. I would never find myself in Yekaterinburg, and he wouldn’t be returning to New York or coming to Montreal. We wouldn’t have seen each other, either, had he not recognized me a few minutes ago in this unlikely locale, in the middle of a bustling New York bookstore.

They may not actually see each other again, but thanks now to the presence of social networks, one of which was mentioned during their conversation, I expect both would be staying in touch though.

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Blend in, that’s how to make more friends while travelling abroad

Wednesday, 12 September, 2012

Liking what the locals like, or at least creating that impression, is the key to making new friends while living in an overseas country. Mind you there’s nothing wrong with locals being a little more accepting of newcomers… they might themselves on the outside looking in one day.

You need to know where to meet foreigners. I can tell about Abuja at least. Go to play readings and art exhibitions organized by embassies. It doesn’t matter if you do not really care about plays or if you think Australian art is just a waste of space. Join the hash. The hash is plenty of white people running or walking, wearing similar colours, drinking plenty beer and doing things you will find very strange. Don’t be a bush person. Google the hash and learn their terms. Find out what “Hares”, “On-on”, or “Down-down” mean. Sometimes there is a small fee you pay. Don’t be stingy. Pay up and mix with foreigners.

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Making BFFs is about being in the right place at the right time

Thursday, 19 July, 2012

While we develop a certain disinclination to seek out new friends as we mature, it’s the way we move away from – for whatever reasons – the conditions that are conducive to forming close bonds with other people, that makes the friend-making process much harder as we get older.

As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.

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I like to dislike you: keep your friends close, your enemies closer

Wednesday, 28 March, 2012

While probably not sanctioned by the social network, an app, EnemyGraph, created by Dean Terry and Bradley Griffith of the University of Texas, allows Facebook members to show their short term disapproval of people, and media or events as well I presume.

Last month he and a student released a Facebook plug-in called EnemyGraph, which users can install free and name their enemies, which then show up in their profiles. “We’re using ‘enemy’ in the same loose way that Facebook uses ‘friends,'” Mr. Terry explained. “It really just means something you have an issue with.”

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When defriending is not as simple as clicking the delete button

Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

If you’ve wanted, or had, to break apart a friendship for whatever reason, you may have been left feeling that a move to another city, or country, was the only sure way to end matters

With a click of a mouse, you can remove someone from your friends roster and never again see an annoying status update or another vacation photo from a person you want out of your life. Not so in the real world. Even though research shows that it is natural, and perhaps inevitable, for people to prune the weeds from their social groups as they move through adulthood, those who actually attempt to defriend in real life find that it often plays out like a divorce in miniature – a tangle of awkward exchanges, made-up excuses, hurt feelings and lingering ill will.

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Just good friends, it’s speed, not quantity of communication

Friday, 2 December, 2011

Your email account, not surprisingly, says a lot about your relationships with people in the outside, or real, world. But rather than the quantity of messages you send to a particular person being an indicator of how close they are to you, it is the speed with which you respond to their messages that says the most about your connection to someone else.

But then Uzzi and Wuchty tried something new. Instead of looking at the absolute values for volume and response, they looked at the response time – that is, the time it took for a sender to respond to e-mails from different contacts. The new method predicted who was in different employees’ social networks with an accuracy that is several percent higher than the other methods, the duo report online this month in PLoS ONE. What’s more, by examining precisely who had the different response times – friends, colleagues, or acquaintances – Uzzi and Wuchty uncovered a more telling pattern. It turned out that the fastest responses went to friends and that the slowest responses went to acquaintances, with colleagues somewhere in between.

That would be par for the course though, wouldn’t it?

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Real time Facebook friending in real life

Monday, 27 June, 2011

How do you think you would fare if you tried to strike up friendships with people – who are pretty much strangers – as you might add them as friends on Facebook, or follow them in Twitter style… in real life?

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