A new fad sweeping through middle schools shows friendship “with benefits”
overwhelmingly popular among teens. “Now being friends won’t feel like being
punched in the face,” says Alejandra, age 13, who declined to give her last name. Her
best friend has promised to stop shoving her into lockers.
“We’re going to remember each other’s names and maybe even hang out, you
know, do things together,” gushed Carl Paton, a Blakefield Middle School seventh
grader. “It’s like being friends, but fun.”
Surveys of teens up and down the East Coast reveal more and more friends forming
pacts to genuinely care about the other person and “acknowledge each other’s
existences”. This social experiment shows signs of traveling across the nation,
as in a December 2010 study key Nebraskans rated friendship as “enjoyable”
and “worthwhile.” As far west as Arizona, there have been reports of friendships
that bring levels of emotional fulfillment and have a positive effect greater than if
the two people had remained strangers. Follow-up studies on friends who also feel
each other up are currently under way, promises Gallup.