The Friendship Equation: How To Self-Diagnose Your Relationship?

Last Update on November 22, 2022 : Published on November 22, 2022

Friends keep us going. Friendship is one of the main elements of living life joyously and happily. We all can with the fact that certain friendships can have mental health impacts. Developing and maintaining friendships is not an easy task! We have to be connected with our friends to develop nurtured friendships with our friends.

Friends are a major part of our life and they help us in celebrating good times and provide extended support during rough times. They are the best people to protect us from loneliness and isolation. Overall, they are the best companion one can have. I bet you are thinking about your best friend right now!

Well, do you want to deepen the friendship bond with your best friend or do you want to protect yourself from making toxic friends? Keep reading this blog to understand the friendship equation and learn how to self-diagnose your relationship with your friends.

What is the Friendship Equation?

The friendship equation was introduced by Dr. Jack Schafer in the book titled “The Like Switch.” According to the book, friendship is based on four main components, proximity, frequency, duration, and intensity. These components can help someone diagnose if they can be friends with someone in terms of their mental health.

This equation describes that our brain has a section named territory scan. When we access the territory scan, we start scanning or accessing whether someone can be our friend or not.

This scanning sends an instant message to the brain while processing the required information like the person should be approached, avoided, or ignored entirely. In the next section, let’s learn about this equation.

The Four Components of Friendship Equation

According to psychology, there are four main elements of a friendship:

  • Proximity
  • Frequency
  • Duration
  • Intensity


Proximity means the distance between you and the other individual you are referring to be friends with. Proximity could be anything from shared space to a shared background. According to Jack, proximity can be measured by the closeness to someone as you stay by their side. Proximity is restrained by the non-threatening and comfortable environment you both create for each other.


We all can simply guess that frequency refers to the number of times you interact with each other. The idea is that the bigger the number of instances, the bigger will be the level of comfort.


Duration can be referred to as the amount you guys have spent together. According to the equation, the more time you guys have spent, the more will be level of comfort. Duration can be highly impacted by thoughts and actions as well. For example, newborn spends most of their time with their mothers which creates a safe space, comfort, and relaxation between the two right after birth.


Intensity can be measured by the times you were psychologically satisfied with the person. Intensity automatically subtracts the number of nonverbal and verbal behaviors. Intensity can be measured by the time you guys were into the conversation intensely instead of looking at each other’s devices.

The lesser the intensity, the lesser the intimacy. Moreover, the more time you spend with your partner helps in developing the deepest or more intense interactions.

Self-Diagnosing a Relationship

If you’re reading this blog to deepen a relationship or thinking about being friends with someone or not, here’s how you can use this formula to self-diagnose a relationship based on the friendship equation.

If you observe deeply, you will find that the friendship equation is based on the building blocks. We will begin with the proximity…

Proximity can be measured by the number of times friends or couples have shared the same space.

Frequency can be measured by the number of times the friends or couples have shared time frequently

Duration can be measured by the number of times the friends or couples have seen each other.

Intensity can be measured by the number of times the friends or couples have worked to hold the friendship/relationship together.

How to Deepen a Friendship Based on the Friendship Equation?

If you are looking forward to deepening a friendship or relationship with someone, you can begin by increasing your proximity with them. Try to be more around them so that they can seek your support whenever they need it. The other goal is to become more familiar with them so that you can increase your level of comfort.

Moreover, keep on increasing the frequency of time so that you can share good moments together, talk more, know each other more, and build a great friendship or relationship together.

A Quick Takeaway: Try to establish more light and pleasant conversations so that you both can understand each other deeply and break the ice. You can use the friendship equation to stay friends with someone, deepen your relationship with someone, create a successful marriage with your partner, and more.

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I hope this blog helps you understand the friendship equation. Comment down and share your views on the same. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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