Why Your Friends Are Your Friends

November 19, 2021
Ivan Stern

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Class of 2023

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Have you ever wondered why you ended up being friends with certain people? What would your reaction be if I told you that this is due to a genetic attraction?

These have been very hectic days. Baltimore is already on the IC countdown, and it is being planned by more than 200 worldwide teens. However, making decisions for the largest Jewish youth convention in the world and thinking of innovative ideas for enriching the experience of 3000 teenagers could never be so harmonious and enjoyable if we did not have the unconditional support of our friends who love us even when we are so busy. That’s why I asked myself, do I have the best friends in the world? Are they all that good, or is it a fluke? Wait a second! Did I actually choose my friends personally, or were they just a product of chance?

Thinking about this with some friends, I heard of a biology study in mice, compatible with human behavior, that reveals that preferences for social relationships are determined by genes and we do not choose our affections, since we look unconsciously for pairs with the same genetic variants.

A study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that there is a biological basis behind the instantaneous compatibility reaction. This suggests that there is an enzyme in our brain that is responsible for regulating mood and motivation and allows us to process information without thinking when we are with someone we meet for the first time.

The experiment with mice appears when a group of them is set aside and studied to see their reaction to capsules with substances emanated by the same type of rodent, but not a mouse, and others with mouse substances, but just of another breed.

The study found that the interaction with the capsules of other races was null, it caused displeasure and the mice only returned to approach them after a week. On the other hand, the capsules of the same types of mice, the match was immediate and the rodents did not separate from them showing the same social attraction that was inferred by biology.

Believe it or not, it is a good reflection question to think about the reason why we have formed a relationship with our friends. Are we genetically attracted to them in either a platonic or romantic sense? Are they casual friends? Do we have a much deeper bond with them than initially assumed? Do we choose them? Undoubtedly that analysis is a personal task of everyone, but one that might be very fun and interesting to do.

Ivan Stern is an Aleph from BBYO: Argentina who love having long talks, exchanging ideas, and socializing.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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