Agentic Friendships

At the past university I attended, in my biology class I had a group of friendships that I only noticed real interaction with during the class period and when we had big assignments due. We never really talked outside of class other than the occasional “hello” if we saw each other while walking around on campus. During class period, we were friendly with each other and never had any conflicts, but it was almost mechanical. We would show up to class, whip out our laptops and resources, hunker down together, and do the work. When class concluded, we all packed up, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. After reading chapter 12, I realized now that we had an agentic friendship, a friendship in which the parties are primarily focused on helping each other achieve a practical goal (McCornack 360). In our case, a good grade in the class. In our friendship, our main objective was to work together to achieve our goal of getting a good grade in the class. None of us had really known more about each other than our names and the grade we were in. We never really interacted outside of the classroom unless we really needed to come together to finish something. However, even at that, most of the time we would try to get the work done ourselves, so we didn’t have to do this. I argue that we all only really valued our time together if it was for the purpose of getting assignments and labs done, not if we are available and have no other priorities at the moment like the textbook states. When the class concluded at the end of the semester, we all gave our farewells and the friendly “I’ll see you later, man!”, however, we all really knew this was the last time we would interact with each other (for the most part).

Image result for students working together in the classroom

This picture reminds me of an agentic friendship because the students are just working together to achieve a common goal, they do not seem to have any strong emotions towards each other. 


McCornack, Steven. “Reflect & Relate: an introduction to interpersonal communication.” 4thed., Bedford/St. Martins, 2016.

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