Is there any quantitative measure associated with the strength of a friendship or relationship? Ideally it should be able to be calculated based on observable factors, but should not require interaction with the subjects, just observation.

Note: Specifically I am analyzing fictionalized novels.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In what arena? There are several algorithms for calculating strength of relationship in a Facebook-type context, and I think there are also coding systems for verbal/nonverbal behavior between the pair, but they generally restrict themselves in scope. $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    Nov 4, 2014 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for systemizing human behaviour $\endgroup$
    – user6939
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


It's not my area, but a quick Google revealed this one.

The McGill Friendship Questionnaire - Respondent's affection (MFQ-RA). Item and validation information is available on the site.

It also mentions that it takes inspiration from "the Friendship Questionnaire" and the "Friendship Qualities scale". So they might also be worth checking out.

  • $\begingroup$ When I've seen the question title I actually hoped someone might come with $\frac{N}{neurons}$ equation :) (N stands for newtons) $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2014 at 22:42

Using Dunbar's number, and the inherent trade off that the more friends one has (quantity) the less time they can spend with each (quality). Time spent could be assumed to equate to friendship strength.

I will note, however, that there is in fact a secondary level (of quality) to the time itself whereby how effectively one uses it with different friends, however using the above method it would be assumed all time is spent equally effectively.


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