The Friendship Experiment

A few months ago I thought to myself: what if two friends were trapped together in a featureless void with nothing to do but talk to each other until the end of time? Obviously, you have to imagine that they don’t need to eat or anything like that, or else the only result of this experiment would be that they would die quite quickly.

What I really wondered was would any friendship be strong enough to endure these conditions? Or would any two people eventually grow to hate one another as a result of over-exposure? I started to think that yes, any two people would start to hate each other. This made me a little sad because there are people who I’m so close with that I couldn’t imagine growing to hate, no matter what. And what would this say about the human condition? That hate always trumps love in the end?

But then, speaking to a friend of mine, he said that was not a reasonable conclusion to jump to, that putting someone in the conditions described in this experiment is tantamount to torture and all that proves is that putting people in horrible conditions makes them behave negatively. I like that. Love is stronger than hate and this hypothetic situation doesn’t say anything at odds with that.

Funnily enough, now that we’re in lockdown I guess my housemate and I are living the closest real-life equivalent of this situation. Even though we spend pretty much all of our waking hours together, no negative emotion starts to grow – and I don’t think it ever will.

What do you think of the friendship experiment?

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