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Familiar Friend Values Running Head: FRIENDSHIP VALUES

Familiar Friend Values: A comparison between cross-race and same-race women's friendships Laura P. Naumann University of California, Berkeley 2002

Familiar Friend Values Abstract Much research has examined the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of friendships between women. However, far less research has compared women in same-race and cross-race friendships. First, I examine how racial classification influences friendships across race by asking participants two questions: What influence does race have on your friendship? and What do you value or find most meaningful about your friendship? Based on previous research, I hypothesized that women in cross-race friendships would value qualities such as openness, acceptance, reciprocity, and uniqueness to a higher degree than same-race friends do. Additionally, I speculated that cross-race dyads would express an appreciation of differences as well as a range of emotions to a greater degree that same-race dyads would. A sample totaling 84 Mexican American, African American, and Caucasian women in same-race or cross-race dyads participated in a discussion about race and friendship. I performed a content analysis of the womens responses to the two questions using a modified version of Weiss and Lowenthals (1975) dimensions of friendship schema and then analyzed the emotions each participant reported after

completing each discussion. Cross-race friends valued the same qualities to the same degree that same-race friendships did with one exception: Black dyads valued reciprocity more than White dyads and Black/White dyads. Cross-race friends emphasized a greater appreciation of differences than same-race friends did and exhibited curiosity, enthusiasm, appreciation, compassion, and gratitude after each discussion.

Familiar Friend Values Familiar Friend Values: A comparison between cross-race and same-race women's friendships People become friends for many reasons. Friendships offer more than mere acquaintanceship or polite interaction. They provide an outlet to satisfy our desire for social integration. Solano (1986) purports that friendship functions to fulfill three needs: material [e.g. friend loans you money], cognitive [e.g. sharing stimulating

conversation], and emotional [e.g. giving and receiving love]. Our close friends offer us a sense of belonging, emotional stability, opportunities for conversation, assistance, reassurance of our worth and value, and personality support (Duck, 1991; Rawlins, 1992; Davis & Todd, 1985). Friendship offers us many rewards; it is no wonder that we place great importance on our friendships and value our friends highly. If friendship offers many rewards, why is it often so difficult to build and maintain friendships? Much research has explored the complexities of friendship formation (Berscheid & Walster, 1983; Rodin, 1982; Clark & Ayers, 1992). In addition to factors such as reciprocity (Clark & Ayers, 1992; Weiss & Lowenthal, 1975) and proximity (Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950), similarity seems to be the basic starting point for a friendship (Ajzen, 1997; Byrne, 1971; Lott & Lott, 1974; Wheeler, 1974; Woolsey & McBain, 1987). Duck (1991) maintains that most adults show a clear preference for friends of the same race, gender, age, and class. Duck (1977) further states that many kinds of similarities are associated with liking: correspondence of interests, attitudes, personality characteristics, socioeconomic status, and even physical attractiveness. It is easy for people to connect with others who are similar to them, but how do they form bonds with the rest of a dissimilar world? Friendship formation is complex. Many factors can work for or against a potential friend. Rodin (1982) argues that our friendship choices are based on liking

Familiar Friend Values criteria, disliking criteria, and exclusion judgments called disregard cues. When we meet others, we identify the qualities we like and do not like about them. If the others

meet our liking criteria, they have friend potential and enter our pool of possible friends. However, even if others possess redeeming qualities, if they have any qualities that we dislike, we reject them and immediately discard them from our pool of potential friends. The problem arises when we meet people and, even before learning that they might possess all the right qualities and not the wrong ones, we disregard them on the basis of their race, educational background, physical attractiveness, age, mode of dress, and so on (Clark & Ayers, 1992; Hays, 1989; Gouldner and Symons Strong, 1987; Patzer, 1985). Rodin (1982) describes the disregard process as a way to save time and energy by not cultivating a relationship with someone we are unlikely to like. We overlook these potential friends because they do not seem to be suitable candidates for friendship. With so much vested in forming friendships and so many obstacles working against forming friendships with dissimilar people, there must be something unique about interracial friendships. As of 1993, the rate of interracial marriages and unions was 2.2% of all married couples (Gaines & Ickes, 1997). It is far more difficult to even estimate the incidence of cross-race friendships. Statistics for interracial friendships are more difficult to obtain compared to obtaining statistics for interracial marriages. The statistical infrequency of interracial friendships (Gaines & Ickes, 1997; Blieszner & Adams, 1992) is indication that these relationships are different and factors such as Rodins (1982) disregard cues may be inhibiting friendship formation. Or perhaps cross-race friends know something we dont? In an overview of interracial relationships, Gaines & Ickes (1997) chose to disregard the traditional researchers

Familiar Friend Values outsider perspective and instead sought the insiders perspective from the people involved in interracial relationships. Partners frequently responded that they valued

certain differences in their relationships because the differences helped to satisfy each others motives for self-expansion, novelty, and sensation seeking in various areas. Though this research involves romantic relationships, we can extend these findings to interracial friendships. Cross-race friends are likely to gain direct access to another unique culture that introduces novel foods, speech, dress, attitudes, habits, values, and other surprises. Though women do not enter cross-race friendships more often than men do (Clark and Ayers, 1992), women appear to be better equipped to transcend the race barrier in friendships (Duck, 1991). In general, women are more affectionate, loyal, committed, and have a higher capacity for intimacy than men do (Duck, 1991; Bigelow & La Gaipa, 1980; Sherrod, 1989). As well, women experience gender-based oppression that can enhance the shared feelings of sisterhood (Clark and Ayers, 1992; OConnor, 1992). Women may have a greater capacity to empathize with those of other races because, traditionally, their friendships are based on intimate verbal interactions, whereas mens friendships are based on shared interests and activities (Johnson & Aires, 1983; Sherrod, 1989). While examining mens friendships is beyond the scope of this study, previous research on the topic allows us to speculate that cross-race friendships between women have great potential to be built on a strong foundation of empathy and understanding. Hall and Roses (1996) study of friendships between African American and White lesbians is a prime example of womens affinity for friendships with those who have the capacity to empathize. Rose (1996) emphasized the importance of racial

Familiar Friend Values awareness and an individuals level of racial identity in identifying potential cross-race friends. Lesbians of color described White racially-aware women as those who

acknowledged and challenged the ways White people actively or passively participated in and benefited from racism, and who recognized and appreciated differences in culture; values; and aesthetic standards across races, but who additionally did not regard those differences as signs of superiority. Women who displayed a special sensitivity and loyalty concerning race matters had more rewarding friendships. The friends both experienced personal growth through developing a greater appreciation for cultural diversity and political growth through more effective political organization (Hall & Rose, 1996). One must acknowledge, though, that because lesbians often face marginalization because of their sexual orientation, they share similar experiences with other minorities and may be more able to overcome other obstacles such as racial barriers to forming friendships. Regardless of a womans racial awareness or sexual orientation, it seems that women appreciate understanding, acceptance, and empathy. Could these qualities be the hidden key to understanding cross-race friendships? Duck's (1982/1988) theories of relationships can offer insight into understanding the difficulty involved in maintaining cross-race friendships. Duck argues that friends must abide by the rules of friendship maintenance or face dissolution of their friendship. He regards friendship maintenance as upholding the level of commitment and intimacy within the relationship, as well as dealing with conflict in a way that avoids ending the friendship (Duck, 1988). Duck argues that dissatisfaction with the relationship or with the partner will ultimately result in the dissolution of the relationship (1982). Hatfield's equity theory (Hatfield, Utne, & Traumpann, 1979) corroborates with Duck's theory of friendship dissolution. Equity theorists contend that we maximize the

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outcomes in our relationships by comparing our own costs and benefits with that of our partner or friend. When we recognize that there is inequality within our friendship, we attempt to adjust the actual ratio of costs and benefits. If that fails, Hatfield et al. (1979) describe a process of restoring psychological equity, in which we try to convince ourselves that the situation is really fair and equal. Ultimately, failed attempts to restore actual or psychological equity will result in the termination of the relationship. Consider the situation of a high-school classroom composed of a majority of White students and a handful of African American students. According to Hallinan & Teixeria (1987), African American adolescents, when in predominately White classrooms, make significantly more cross-race friendship choices than their White peers do. In step with friendship formation theories, the African American students might seek to develop cross-race friendships with White students whom they perceive to posess characteristics similar to their own (Clark, 1989). Also consider that reciprocal friendships [i.e. relationships with a higher degree of involvement, commitment, and understanding] form between peers who have similar characteristics (Clark & Ayers, 1992; Kurdek & Krile, 1982). Consequently, it may be difficult for the African American students to develop reciprocal cross-race friendships because White students do not perceive them as equal in status (Clark, 1989). Clark and Ayers (1988) found such evidencein a predominately White school, 40% of African American students and only 14% White students had no reciprocated friendships among their peers at school. In such a situation, equality theorists would identify the disparity in reciprocity between the students and predict the eventual termination of the friendship. Given this, we hypothesize that successful cross-race friendships will cite reciprocity as an important value of friendship.

Familiar Friend Values Along these lines, Weiss and Lowenthal (1975) explored the qualities that participants ascribed to their real friends and desired in ideal friends. Participants identified reciprocity as the most important quality in an ideal friend, but conversely, emphasized the importance of similar qualities in their real friends. Ideally, we fancy

friends who are committed to and involved in our friendships; but as friendship theories assert, similarity is the essential icebreaker in forming friendships! Perhaps cross-race friendships that do not conform to the similarity standard are able to value reciprocity at a higher degree. The other significant outcome of Weiss and Lowenthals (1975) study was their utilization of the participants responses to develop a classification schema. This yielded 19 dimensions that Weiss and Lowenthal then grouped into six domains of friendship. Tesch and Martin (1983) utilized a modified version of Weiss and Lowenthals (1975) classification schema in their study of friendship concepts in young adults [i.e. college students and alumni]. Tesch and Martin (1983) asked participants to respond to the questions, What does friendship mean to you? and What do you value in your friendships? to examine if adults views of friendship changed with age. The present study models after the Tesch and Martin (1983) study, except that we examine the effects of racial classification rather than the effects of age on the influences of the friendship. For the purposes of this study, we will apply Tesch and Martins (1983) modified version that comprises eight domains of friendship: similarity, reciprocity, acceptance, openness, compatibility, role model, uniqueness, and time. I will describe these domains in more detail in the method section. The purpose of this study is not to elucidate the formation or dissolution of cross-race friendships, but rather to gain a better understanding of the processes that

Familiar Friend Values facilitate and maintain these friendships. We know that the formation of cross-race friendships is occurring and acknowledge that these friends are overcoming some impediments that same-race friends do not encounter. With these assumptions in mind, we hope to identify if these friendships are truly different and if so, what makes them work. This study will examine the qualities that women in cross-race and same-race friendships value and the similarities or differences that they identify. Based on previous research, I hypothesized that women in cross-race friendships would value qualities such as openness, acceptance, reciprocity, and uniqueness to a greater degree than do same-race friends. To that degree, same-race dyads would place greater value on similarity, while cross-race dyads would express a greater appreciation of differences. Finally, in exploratory analyses, I expected to find a range of differences in emotion cross-race friends experienced in comparison with the range same-race friends experienced.

Method Participants Eighty-four women from the Berkeley area, whose ages ranged from 18 to 44 (M=21), participated in a larger study about race and friendship. Data collected in that study will be used to examine my research questions. In a forced choice, 40 (48%) women identified as White, 27 (32%) women identified as Chicana/Mexican American, and 17 (20%) women identified as Black/African American. Three percent completed a high school education or equivalent, 75% of the women were college students, and 17% had completed some college or higher (4 subjects did not provide this data).

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Forty-two adult female friendship dyads comprised this sample. There were 14 crossrace groups: 7 Black/White dyads and 7 Mexican American/White dyads. Same-race groups were used as comparison groups: 13 White dyads, 10 Mexican American (Chicana) dyads, and 5 Black dyads. Individuals were recruited via advertisements posted on the UC Berkeley campus and through invitation to individuals involved in the Research Participation Program (RPP). Interested individuals were screened to meet the following criteria: 1) friendship of six months or longer, 2) born in the United States, 3) no previous romantic involvement with each other and 4) self-identification with one of the three targeted racial groups. Each participant received $20 for her participation. Measures The primary measure in this study was a content analysis of participants responses to the open-ended questions How does race influence your friendship? and What do you value or find most meaningful in your friendship? The author segmented the participants responses into discrete items, each containing a single idea pertaining to friendship. In the first question, the author counted the frequency of the participants mentions of similarity [e.g. We are both in a sorority and come from similar backgrounds.] or difference [e.g. [Our differences] come up when we discuss our family lifestyles] within their friendships. In the second question, the author coded each friendship item using Tesch and Martins (1983) modified version of Weiss and Lowenthals (1975) domains of friendship. Tesch and Martins schema contained 23 dimensions representing the eight domains of similarity, reciprocity, acceptance, openness, compatibility, role model, uniqueness, and time.

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Similarity, defined by commonalities in behavior and interests, encompasses the dimensions: shared experiences, shared activities, shared concerns, and general similarities. Sample responses included: "We have similar views" and "We come from similar backgrounds and have similar socioeconomic statuses." Reciprocity, defined by a higher degree of involvement, commitment, understanding, giving and receiving, comprises the dimensions: dependability, caring/affection, commitment, trust, and general reciprocity. Sample responses included: "You are always there for me" and "You can call me whenever you need to, and I can call you." Acceptance comprises the dimensions: understanding and ego support. Sample responses included: "You are both understanding and empathetic" and "You do not judge me." Openness, defined by the willingness to hear and consider or to accept and deal with; includes the dimensions: confidant, honesty, and being ones self. Sample responses included: "I feel like I can tell you anything" and "I do not have to hide anything or not be myself." Compatibility, defined as the simple pleasure in being with the friend; contains the dimensions: communication ease, likeability, and enjoyment. Sample responses included: "We can have fun, or be serious" and "I enjoy your company and our conversations." The role model domain characterizes attributes in which the respondent aspires or which she looks up to and respects in her friends and consists of the dimensions: respect and learning/advice. Sample responses include:

Familiar Friend Values "You know more and give me good advice" and "She is a good influence, I respect her." The uniqueness domain distinguishes responses that identify the dimensions: differences and limitations. Sample responses include: "We lead different lives and have different backgrounds" and "I did not know if I could really become good friends with you because of your initial assumptions [about me]." The time domain, used to describe duration, geographic closeness, and convenience; comprises the dimensions: endurance and coexistence. Sample responses included: "We can still be friends and live together" and "You are not a fair-weather friend." Procedure


In the larger study, researchers mailed participants who met the criteria a packet of questionnaires with a consent form and cover letter detailing the procedures of the study. The participants were informed that the study concerned women, race, and friendship and would involve a videotaped discussion between the friends. The friends were instructed to complete the questionnaires without assistance from each other. The participants brought the completed questionnaire packet to the videotaped discussion session. The equipment and procedures of the videotaped session were then explained and the discussion session was completed. The participants were given the option of providing contact information for participation in follow-up studies. Race and Friendship Discussion Each dyad participated in the videotaped discussion together, lasting approximately one hour. Dyads were escorted into the testing room where the video

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equipment was explained. Participants were seated across from each other and given a clipboard full of questionnaires that assessed emotion. The emotion assessments, which were administered after each interaction, asked the participant to first rate her own emotions, then the emotions of her friend. The questionnaires consisted of 23 positive and negative emotions using a 9-point Likert scale. The experimenter left the room and gave instructions via intercom from the control area next to the testing room. Participants were asked to engage in six interactions: 1) First meeting description, 2) Teasing interaction, 3) Racial identity discussion, 4) Racial discrimination discussion, 5) Influence of race discussion, and 6) Value of friendship discussion. For the purpose of this study, the author only analyzed the Influence of race and Value of friendship discussions. a. Influence of race discussion: Participants were asked, How does race influence your friendship? and then instructed to discuss their responses with each other in a conversational manner for approximately three minutes. No further instructions were given. At the end of the interaction, participants completed an emotions assessment questionnaire. b. Value of friendship discussion: Participants were asked, What do you value or find most meaningful about your friendship? and instructed to discuss their responses with each other in a conversational manner for approximately two minutes. At the end of the interaction, participants completed an emotions assessment questionnaire.

Results Values of Friendship

Familiar Friend Values As mentioned in the methods section, I used a modified version of Weiss and


Lowenthals (1975) domains of friendship schema to perform a content analysis of the participants' responses. Generally, womens responses to the question What do you value about your friendship revealed few significant quantitative differences between same-race and cross-race friendships. Table 1 provides the means for the eight domains of friendship across all race dyads. I tested the differences among the means using an independent samples t test. Black friends reported valuing reciprocity to a greater degree than did both White friends and Black/White cross-race friends, t(42)=3.154, p=.006 and t(42)=2.487, p=.032, respectively. The remaining data fails to support a significant difference in values associated with friendship between same-race and cross-race friendships. Although the statistical tests did not present overwhelming significant findings, the qualitative content of women's responses varied by racial grouping for several of the domains. The domains reciprocity, openness, compatibility, and time yielded similar responses across all racial dyadic groupings. Refer to the method section for sample responses. However, some responses classified in the domains of similarity, acceptance, role model, and uniqueness differed in content across racial dyadic groupings. For example, the qualities of similarity White friends and cross-race friends cited differed from the responses of Black and Chicana friends. Friends of color valued similarities centralized around issues associated with race and socioeconomic background. A sample response from two Chicana friends was, "We're both Mexican and minorities. We relate on the same issues." A Black dyad responded, "We have a racial and ethnic consciousness." White friends and cross-race friends frequently cited

Familiar Friend Values general similarities in tastes and activities, and disregarded race as a key factor of similarity. In the acceptance domain, most responses were similar across all dyads with


the exception of a few responses from Black friends: "We couldn't have conversations or appreciate certain [Black] functions if you weren't Black" or "I don't feel comfortable telling my business to a White person." In the role model domain, responses varied between same-race and cross-race friends. Cross-race friends made specific references related to race and culture. Several White friends described their cross-race friendship as a "question and answer session" where the White friend would learn about aspects of her friend's race and culture. A White woman told her Black friend that she valued "explanations of certain [cultural] things, like why [her Black friend] wrapped her hair." Another White friend joked with her Chicana friend, "I've learned a lot about Mexican culture. You taught me how to make beans." However, learning and advice did not only flow from the person of color to her White friend. A Black friend told her White friend, "I feel like your culture has become my culture, and we've learned a lot [from each other]. I probably wouldn't have been able to go to a fancy restaurant with my [Black] friends." A Chicana friend remarked, "I've learned from you. I've learned how people deal with race." Conversely, same-race friends made reference to general learning and advice"She gives me good advice" or "She's a good influence." Similar to the role model domain, the friends' responses to the uniqueness domain varied between same-race and cross-race friends. Same-race friends responded with general statements such as "You're unique" or "You're not like other girls." Cross-race friends' responses were commonly centered on differences in race,

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culture, and background. The women of color often highlighted the willingness of their White friends to overstep race barriers. A Black friend told her White friend, "You went against all odds [to be my friend] and gave a part of yourself that goes against the norm." A Chicana friend told her White friend, "You're not a cookie-cutter White girl. I had preconceived notions about your background, that you came from a typical "White" family." White friends often acknowledged and showed appreciation for the differences within their cross-race friendship. A White friend told her Black friend, "I do notice the differences, but I like it." A White friend told her Chicana friend, "We have lots of differences, but we're supportive." Appreciation of Differences A univariate analysis of variance revealed significant differences suggesting that cross-race friends (M=1.21, SD=1.53) had a greater appreciation of their differences than same-race (M=0.39, SD=0.70) friends did, F(1,42)=4.439, p=.041. Conversely, same-race friends (M=3.78, SD=2.39) cited a greater appreciation of similarities than cross-race friends (M=2.00, SD=1.67) did, F(1,42)=8.071, p=.007. Table 2 provides the means for appreciation of similarities and differences for each of the racial dyads. The Black same-race dyads reported the least appreciation of differences and both cross-race groups reported more appreciation of differences. The Chicana same-race dyads reported the most appreciation of similarities and the Black/White cross-race dyads reported the least appreciation of similarities. Similar to the responses to the values of friendship discussion, friends' responses differed in content to the question, "How does race influence your friendship?" Same-race friends, though emphasizing an appreciation of similarities, regarded different qualities as important to their friendship. The White dyads

Familiar Friend Values minimized the influence of race in their friendship and cited an appreciation of similar


views and backgrounds as important factors in their friendship. The Black and Chicana dyads emphasized the importance sharing a strong racial identity and an appreciation of racial similarities. In contrast, cross-race friends generally minimized the influence of race on their friendship, but paradoxically showed a great appreciation for their racial differences. Emotions After Discussions After each discussion, participants filled out rating forms containing 23 different emotions. We grouped these emotions into six composites. Table 3 provides the means for each emotion composite between same-race and cross-race dyads. An independent samples t test revealed that cross-race friends experienced more curiosity and enthusiasm than same-race friends did during the race discussion, t(80)= -4.703, p=.001. During the values discussion, cross-race friends, in addition to more curiosity and enthusiasm t(80)= -5.177, p=.001, experienced more appreciation, compassion, and gratitude than same-race friends did, t(80)= -2.966, p=.004.

Discussion The results suggest that, though there are few significant quantitative differences in the qualities of friendship that same-race and cross-race friends value, some differences occur in the content of the women's responses across the racial groupings. Additionally, cross-race friends acknowledge and appreciate their differences to a greater degree than same-race friends do. The emotions that the cross-race friends reportedcuriosity, enthusiasm, appreciation, compassion, and

Familiar Friend Values gratitudealso coincide with the cross-race friends appreciation for differences that same-race friends did not experience. Returning to the ultimate purpose of this studyto understand the processes


that facilitate and maintain cross-race friendshipsit is helpful to examine the content of the women's responses. Reoccurring thematic differences revolved around racial similarities and differences. By examining the difference in responses found in the similarity domain, Duck's (1991) theory of preference for similarity is necessary, but I propose to take his theory a step further. In general, same-race friends do acknowledge a preference for similarities on the basis of race, but I suggest further dividing this group into those who specifically acknowledge a racial preference and those who discount or minimize the importance of race. Friends of color, the Black and Chicana groups, openly cite a preference for racial similarities. It is likely that these friends connect and relate well with one another because both friends share an awareness of various issues associated with race. These issues include, but are not limited to, dealing with racial discrimination, cultural differences, and being an ethnic minority. White friends, on the other hand, rarely specifically mentioned race as an important similarity, but alluded to racial preference when mentioning appreciation for "similar backgrounds, upbringings, values, and ideals." In contrast to friends of color, Whites may disregard or minimize the importance of race in their friendship because they may not value or acknowledge their own racial identity in the same capacity that people of color do. The concept of a cross-racial friendship flies in the face of conventional friendship formation on the basis of racial similarity. Duck (1997) would argue that these cross-race friends might have based their likings on other similarities such as

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correspondence of interests, attitudes, and personality characteristics. It does appear, though there is perceptible physical and cultural dissimilarity, that cross-race friends do value similarity in other areas such as religion, food, music, habits, and socioeconomic status. It is probably that these cross-race friends relied heavily upon other similarities outside of race to form their friendships. It seems counterintuitive then, if racial identity and racial awareness are important to people of color (Rose, 1996), that befriending Whites solely on the basis of other similarities besides race would be sufficient to maintain a worthwhile friendship. The plethora of literature that cites similarity as the basic element in friendship may need revision. In respects to forming cross-race friendships, similarity in other areas besides race may be the initial factor in crossing the race barrier. However, it seems as though other factors are essential in the maintenance of cross-race friendships. Examining the differences in content in the other domains of friendship, as well as examining cross-race friends' appreciation of differences, provides insight into potential areas that might help maintain quality cross-racial friendships. Black friends emphasized the importance of acceptance and understanding, especially with regards to race, in their friendships. These women might hesitate to share their feelings with White peers because they do not think the White friends will understand or adequately comprehend their feelings of frustration surrounding racial issues. These Black womens fears and concerns help us to understand some of the complex barriers to cross-racial friendship. The African American lesbians in Hall and Rose's (1996) study probably share similar feelings to these Black friends. When forming their cross-racial friendships, they sought White women who had strong racial identities and displayed sensitivity towards racial matters. Though the cross-race friends in this study did not

Familiar Friend Values explicitly acknowledge an understanding and acceptance of race, they did show an


appreciation of differences. Perhaps acknowledging and appreciating differences is an extension of racial acceptance and understanding. Cross-race friends often appreciated learning about aspects of the other friend's race or culture. The friends' appreciation of differences ranged from wanting to learn more about hair extensions to understanding the differences in familial values to having misconceptions about traditional White families dispelled. Each friend's interest and desire to learn more about her friend's differences exhibits a vested interest and commitment to the friendship. Gaines and Ickes (1997) would agree that these friends are seeking to expand their knowledge of other cultures and partake in novel experiences much like the interracial couples in their study. Though these friends did not explicitly mention qualities such as reciprocity and acceptance as frequently as other domains they mentioned, it appears that these cross-race friends are engaging in these acts just by the nature of the appreciation of their differences. The emotions the cross-race friends experienced after each discussion validated their appreciation of differencesthe appreciation of differences that same-race friends did not exhibit. Cross-race friends experienced more curiosity and enthusiasm during their discussions about race and values than the same-race friends did. Cross-race friends feelings of curiosity and enthusiasm to learn more about their friends race or culture have encouraged them to work harder to bridge the race gap. The emotions cross-race friends reported after their discussion of valuesappreciation, compassion, and gratitudegive us much hope for the future of interracial friendships. We would expect all friends to experience these positive emotions with their closest friends; however, that cross-race friends experience these emotions to a greater degree than

Familiar Friend Values same-race friends speaks volumes. These friends, whether consciously or


subconsciously, know that their friendships tap into something special that same-race friendships do not have. It certainly seems as though cross-race friends highly value their differences and enjoy learning and sharing their cultures with someone who appreciates them. Perhaps where these friends cannot relate on racial similarities, they can find comfort in their appreciation of differences and maintain a worthwhile, reciprocal friendship. This studys limitations are simple. It had a small sample size and did not represent all ethnic groups. Additionally, Weiss and Lowenthal (1975) framed their domains of friendship in such a way that does not segment responses highlighting racial differences. Suggestions for future research include creating coding mechanisms that are sensitive to racial content and as well research that recognizes differences across all races. The future of interracial friendships is promising. Though researchers continue to overlook this area of research, cross-race friends seem inherently adept at making their friendships work. If we keep in mind the issues that people of color face and do our best to validate and understand those feelingsas well as appreciate our differences, cross-race friendships should become increasingly easier to form and maintain. In todays diverse world, the ultimate goal is to increase the frequency of interracial friendships and perhaps increase the acceptance of racial differences.

Familiar Friend Values References


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Familiar Friend Values


Wheeler, L. (1974). Social comparison and selective affiliation. In T. L. Huston (Ed.), Foundations of Interpersonal Attraction . New York and London: Academic Press. Woolsey, L. K. & McBain, L. L. (1987). Womens networks: Strengthening the bonds of friendships between women. In K. Storrie (Ed.), Women: Isolation and bonding (pp. 59-76). Toronto, Ontario: Methuen.

Familiar Friend Values

Table 1 Means for Values of Friendship Across All Dyads Friendship Dyads by Race Domains Similarity Reciprocity Acceptance Openness Compatibility Role Model Uniqueness Time Black .800 3.800 1.200 1.800 2.000 .200 .400 .000 Black/White .571 1.429 .571 1.286 2.714 .857 .286 .429 Chicana 1.500 2.100 1.200 .900 1.600 .600 .500 .400 Chicana/White 1.286 2.286 .857 2.143 .857 .143 .714 .571 White 1.077 1.385 .923 1.154 1.615 .615 .462 .231


Total 1.095 2.000 .9524 1.357 1.714 .524 .476 .333

Note: n Black = 5; n Black/White = 7; n Chicana = 10; n Chicana/White = 7; n White= 13.

Familiar Friend Values

Table 2 Means for Appreciation of Similarities and Differences Across All Dyads Same Race White Similarities Differences 2.54 0.62 Black 3.60 0.00 Chicana 5.00 0.40 Total 3.78 0.39 Black/White 0.57 1.71


Cross Race Chicana/White 1.57 1.71 Total 1.07 1.71

Note: n same race = 18; n cross race = 24.

Familiar Friend Values

Table 3


Means for Emotions After Race and Values Discussions Between Same Race and Cross Race Dyads Same Race Cross Race Composite Emotions Race Discussion Values Discussion Race Discussion Values Discussion Curiosity Enthusiasm Appreciation Compassion Gratitude Hope Happiness Love Joy Anger Irritation Anxiety Discomfort Fear Embarrassment Guilt Shame
Note: Ratings are on a 9-pt. scale.