Statistics on friendships for the ‘mainstream’ population The ‘MSN Messenger – Anatomy of Modern Friendship’ research is the result of a comprehensive study of friendship patterns of over 10,000 Brits: • On average a person will have 33 friends at any one time. • 6 of these can be described as close friends in whom you can confide in. Statistics on friendships for the Learning Disabled Population Statistics based on research by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities: • One in three people say they do not have any contact with friends. • One in twenty do not have any friends & do not see anyone from their family. Initiating Friendships • Making new friends can be difficult for anyone but if you also have communication difficulties then this task is even harder. • The friendship profile form is designed to help with the introduction process. Types of Friendship • Friendships fulfil different functions e.g. make us laugh, sharing interests, confide our worries, share opinions etc. • To help people lead a full and active life they need to be supported to establish all types of friendship. The following types of friendship were defined by Aristotle, but are still relevant today: • Utility friendship – A friend who is useful to you, someone who you need e.g. boss and employee. • Pleasure friendship – A friendship that is dependent on shared interest i.e. when you have an activity you do together, e.g. a friend in yoga class. • Virtue friendship – A friendship based on a true connection, when you love the person for who they are. • Utility friendship – Supporting someone with a caring instinct to form a friendship with someone with greater needs – providing supported responsibility fulfils an emotional need. This type of friendship requires a match for needs. • Pleasure friendship – Supporting someone with a particular interest to form a friendship with someone with a similar interest or a desire to try something new. This friendship requires a match for interests. • Virtue Friendship – May evolve from either of the previous friendship types. Alternatively it may come about as a result of good chemistry between people. This friendship can be matched on personality traits. Maintaining, Dissolving and Rekindling Friendships • Across a lifetime, we ALL maintain, dissolve and rekindle friendships • People with Learning Disabilities should have the chance to control the course of their friendships and maintain or dissolve attachments as anyone in the mainstream population would do • The Friendship Support Form has been designed to support and monitor developing friendships Status of friendship Available Unavailable Friendship For an invitation of Already forming a established with friendship potential friendship ……………………… Forming a group & ready to welcome another friend. Conclusion The forms we’ve designed are just a tool, people need to be skilled in how to use them which is why we run a whole training course on friendship. We aim for the following outcomes post training: • People with Learning Disabilities will enjoy starting new friendships as well as enhancing the quality of the friendships they already have. • Staff will feel confident that they can support people to genuinely control the course of their friendships and maintain or dissolve attachments, as anyone in the mainstream population would do. • Each organisation will benefit from a system for monitoring the status of developing friendships and their support systems.
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