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Friends play an important part in our lives, and although we may take the friendship for granted, we often don't clearly understand how we make friends. While we get on well with a number of people, we are usually friends with only a very few, for example, the average among students is about 6 per person. In all the cases of friendly relationships, two people like one another and enjoy being together, but beyond that, the degree of intimacy between them and the reasons for their shared interest vary enormously. As we get to know people we take into account things like age, race, economic condition, social position, and intelligence. Although these factors are not of prime importance, it is more difficult to get on with people when there is a marked difference in age and background.

生活中,朋友扮演著一個極為重要的角色。然而,我們可能把友誼視為理所當然,卻通常並不清楚朋友是怎麼結識的。盡管我們與很多人都相處融洽,但真正成為朋友的卻只有少數幾個——比如,學生平均每人有6個朋友,其中兩人志趣相投,相處甚好;除此之外,朋友間的親密程度及志趣相投的原因大有不同。我們在彼此結識時,常會考慮對方的年齡,種族,經濟條件,社會地位和聰明才智等。盡管這些因素並非特別重要,但當人們在年齡與背景方面存在太大差異時,往往很難相處。

Some friendly relationships can be kept on argument and discussion, but it is usual for close friends to have similar ideas and beliefs, to have attitudes and interests in common—they often talk about "being on the same wavelength". It generally takes time to reach this point. And the more intimately involved people become, the more they rely on one another. People want to do friends favors and hate to break a promise. Equally, friends have to learn to put up with annoying habits and to tolerate differences of opinion.

有些朋友關系能在相互爭論和討論中維持。但親密的朋友通常有著相似的觀點和信仰,相同的見解和興趣——就是常說的“志趣相投”,要達到這種境界,一般需要很長時間的磨合。而且,彼此關系越密切,依賴性就越強烈。人們總希望朋友間互幫互助,憎惡背信棄義。同樣,朋友間必須學會容忍對方的壞習性,並接受對方的不同觀點。

In contrast with marriage, there are no friendship ceremonies to strengthen the association between two people. But the supporting and understanding of each other that results from shared experiences and emotions does seem to create a powerful bond, which can overcome differences in background, and break down barriers of age, class or race.

與婚姻相反的是,友誼沒有儀式來強化二者的關系。但是,基于雙方共同的經歷,情感而產生的理解和支持,能克服背景的差異,年齡的界限,打破性別,階層與種族的屏障,把二人牢牢地拴在一起。

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