Maslow on ‘Friending’

In 1962, leading psychologist Abraham Maslow met with some college students at the New School and answered questions that arose. One of the issues concerned friendship.

Friendship and intimacy are practically absent in our society. It is often said that Americans are very friendly; but people don’t ordinarily dare to look seriously at their relationships, because if they did, there would be the profoundly hurtful feeling of being utterly alone in the world as you realize that you don’t have a real friend.

But it is possible to have very beautiful and fulfilling relationships. They happen in a fraction of one percent of the population. It may be that we’ll work out techniques in the next decade or two for fostering relationships.

Maslow, a self-described utopian, and the fellow who identified “peak experiences” and self-actualization, thought relationships might generally become deeper, more fulfilling on the whole after the 1960s.

To quote a modern day pop psychologist, How’s that workin’ out fer ya?


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