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It’s nice to have them, isn’t it? At first, you run into these people just as faces in a crowd, or lines of text that have magically appeared on your web page’s comment’s section, or a string of numbers and letters on a sheet of paper the office gives you. It’s like with anyone you meet, at first there’s just some meaningless appearance and that’s it.

But friends do something magical. They think about you. They say things to you (or email you, or blog you, or just look at you in such a way as you know they are thinking them). They root for you, or stand up for you, or cheer for you when you do something well. They encourage you, they tell you to shut up when you say stupid things about yourself or others; they challenge you, they comfort you. They don’t do all of these things, but usually they do one of them. And somehow, strangely, in this weird human process, friends start caring about you, your situation. And then you look at yourself and realize the same thing is happening inside you.

I love science, and I know there’s brain chemicals and evolutionary traits involved in this; and yet, science will never explain away the magic that is at the center of every friendship we experience in our lives.

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