The Atlantic

How Friends Become Closer

It’s hard to organize a busy life so that it has enough room for deep friendships, but there are a few strategies that may help.
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“Friendships don’t just happen,” says William Rawlins, a professor of interpersonal communication at Ohio University. “They don’t drop from the sky.”

Like any relationship, friendships take effort and work. But they’re often the last to receive that effort after people expend their energy on work, family, and romance. And as I’ve written before, as time goes on, friendships often face more hurdles to intimacy than other close relationships. As people hurtle toward the peak busyness of middle age, friends—who are usually a lower priority than partners, parents, and children—tend to fall by the wayside.

Our increasingly mobile world also strains friendship. In one study that best-friend pairs, people moved 5.8 times on average, over 19 years. But it’s not just that people move frequently in the modern era—they also cover more ground than they ever have, historically. The epidemiologist David Bradley once of four generations of his family. “Lifetime track” is a term zoologists use to

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