When Friends Differ: How imbalances between partners influence young adolescents’ friendship rivalry and competition

Friends are generally more similar than nonfriends, but this does not mean that friends cannot also be different. Friends may have very different characteristics or skills in a specific domain, or they may simply be slightly different in rankings relative to one another on a domain where they are otherwise similar. These differences and how they are viewed by the pair of friends create a complicated space in the friendship where comparison and competition may grow. When perceptions of differences and behavioral responses to such differences create discontent for one or both partners in the friendship and rivalry may arise which may damage the friendship. This chapter explores these issues with a review of friendship similarities, differences, and children’s and adolescents’ expectations of equality in friendships before presenting the results of a study which explored the relationship between balance, upset, and snarky behavior in adolescent dyadic friendships. It ends with six reflections on the differences that differences make to friends.
The file containing the survey questionnaire associated with this chapter is also included in this record. 15-item version of the Friendship Jealousy Questionnaire. Citation: Parker, J. G. (2015). Unpublished, University of Alabama. If you modify the measure (e.g., supplementing, dropping, or altering items or the response scale) for use in your study you should still include the citation or, if the modifications are substantial and substantive, indicate the legacy by indicating that this measure is the original source for the modified version in all subsequent citations of the modified version.
friendship similarity, friendship differences, friendship equality, competition, social comparison, equity theory
Parker, J. G. and Massey K. E. (2018): When Friends Differ: How Imbalances between Partners Influence Young Adolescents’ Friendship Rivalry and Competition. In S. L. Hart and N. A. Jones (Eds.), The Psychology of Rivalry (163-197).