Dana Kerford True Friendship Interview

Dana Kerford True Friendship Interview

Snapchat's Friendship Report

As a nation obsessed with the love we take a closer look at the chemistry found in platonic relationships with Friendship Expert Dana Kerford.

When you meet someone amazing you can fangirl/fanboy on them from day one. Snapchat recently uncovered the truth behind friendships across the globe, and with Dana's help has pulled together the perfect formula for finding true friendship.

Interview with Dana Kerford, Friendship Expert and founder of URSTRONG

Question: Can you share some of the truths revealed in the Snapchat Friendship Report?

Dana Kerford: From the Snapchat Friendship Report, we've been able to see how different generations value friendships. For instance, 40% of Gen Z fall for their best friends within a month of knowing them. Friendship chemistry is real and it is important to pay attention to those "clicks" when you immediately feel a connection with someone. In comparison, 1 in 10 Baby Boomers take over four years to find a best friend in someone.

We can also see that 44% of Aussies believe that sharing the same values as a friend is the most important quality. New friendships begin by finding something in common; it's like planting a seed for a new friendship to grow. But, liking the same things only gets a friendship so far. Do we see the world in the same way? Do we value the same things in life? The roots of friendship deepen when the conversation moves beyond common interests to common values.


Question: What surprised you about the Snapchat's Friendship Report?

Dana Kerford: And of course, bigger isn't always better. The report shows that Aussies prefer to communicate privately and honestly with smaller groups of close friends that they can trust. What I considered surprising is that Gen Z is leading the charge when it comes to friendships and is trending towards smaller social circles. They crave closer, more intimate friendships, and seek authenticity.

As digital natives, Gen Z is more aware of the repercussions of oversharing on social media platforms; thus, Snapchat is the perfect way to communicate amongst your close circle of friends - keeping conversations private, allowing you to be more real and honour the uniqueness of each friendship.


Question: What are the most important qualities required to be a good friend?

Dana Kerford: We know that deep, meaningful, healthy friendships centre on trust and respect. That feeling of freedom in a friendship emerges when you can completely be yourself with someone (which requires a solid foundation of both trust and respect).

A good friend is also supportive and there for us when we need them. When we hit a hard point in our life it is really important to have friends that we can confide in and to provide us with the support we need - which will ultimately improve our happiness and well-being.


Question: How can we use Snapchat to overcome distance in a friendship?

Dana Kerford: Snapchat is a great tool for staying connected in long distance friendships, as well as being a great way to build connections with new friends while you're away.

Snapchat is an immediate and personal way to share travel adventures with friends and family, away from broadcasting it publicly across other social media platforms. From the Friendship research, Snapchat found that a third (30%) of Aussies use apps to chat with their friends, as it gives them fast and easy access. Better yet, for those left at home Snap Maps allows you to keep up to date with where your loved ones are.

If you're away from home, use Snapchat to go from friendly conversation to building long lasting friendships. According to the Friendship research, almost half of Gen Z Aussies use Snapchat as it allows them to get to know someone faster (46%) and helps them build bonds more quickly (48%).


Question: How does Snapchat help friendships evolve?

Dana Kerford: True friendship takes time and is all about connection. 1 in 10 Aussies state that digital apps have allowed them to become closer with their friends. Whether it's a meme, an inside joke, words of encouragement, or a simple hello, Snapchat is one of the ways we light up that feeling of connection and feel closer to our friends.


Question: Is it true that if a friendship survives the first seven years, it is more likely to last a lifetime?

Dana Kerford: What we are seeing in our research at URSTRONG is that a key predictor of a lifelong friendship is how they manage conflict.

We know that no friendship is perfect; there are going to be those inevitable ups and downs, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. A friendship that faces conflict head-on, with trust and respect at the core, ultimately results in a closer, stronger friendship - one that will stand the test of time.

When we avoid those difficult conversations in our friendships, the "Friendship Fire" (as we call it) keeps burning and resentment sets in. Likewise, if mistrust and disrespect seep in, the "Friendship Fire" gets bigger and, in some cases, becomes impossible to put out.


Question: What is a typical day like for you as a Friendship Expert?

Dana Kerford: Most days you will find me at a school, somewhere around Australia or North America, teaching kids, parents, and teachers our Friendology curriculum. It's like teaching them a whole new 'language of friendship' - they learn about the 4 Friendship Facts, Friend-o-meter, the Friend-o-cycle, and how to put out Friendship Fires. When I am not at a school, I am busy creating new, fun resources for our URSTRONG Schools to help kids improve their friendships!


Question: Can you share your top tips for building the perfect friendship?

Dana Kerford: Be prepared to fall fast
40% of Gen Z fall for their best friends within a month of knowing them
Dana: Like romantic relationships, we can fall hard for our friends. Friendship chemistry is real and it is important to pay attention to those "clicks" when you immediately feel a connection with someone.

Friendship chemistry is real
44% of Aussies believe that sharing the same values as a friend is the most important quality
Dana: New friendships begin by finding something in common; it's like planting a seed for a new friendship to grow. But, liking the same things only gets a friendship so far. Do we see the world in the same way? Do we value the same things in life? The roots of friendship deepen when the conversation moves beyond common interests to common values.

Big isn't always better
Aussies prefer to communicate privately and honestly with smaller groups of close friends that they can trust
Dana: When it comes to friendships, aim for quality over quantity. I would also recommend talking one-on-one with friends because each friendship is different. Group chats and broadcasting things on newsfeeds gets complicated and sometimes results in unintended, unexpected conflicts in friendships. Snapchat is the perfect way to communicate amongst your close circle of friends - keeping conversations private, allowing you to be more real and honour the uniqueness of each friendship.

True friendship takes time
Dana: healthy, feel-good friendships are built on a foundation of trust and respect, which takes time.
Friendship is about connection. 1 in 10 Aussies state that apps have allowed them to become closer with their friends. Whether it's a meme, an inside joke, words of encouragement, or a simple hello, Snapchat is one of the ways we light up that feeling of connection and feel closer to our friends.

Proximity - it is important to get enough exposure
Only a fifth of Aussies stated that their best friend lives within walking distance (18%)
Dana: the frequency we speak with our friends is important. As we get busier and move away from our friends it becomes harder to get face to face contact. Making use of phone calls and apps such as Snapchat allows us to immediately share daily updates and maintain a connection.


Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo by Court Prather on Unsplash




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