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What Does "Mutual Friend" Mean?

by Courtney Spratley

In the quest to make new friends, people often overlook one of their most effective tools: the mutual friend. This individual is a viable asset toward meeting new people that share similar interests, beliefs and hobbies. Whether in person or on social networks, using a mutual friend can break the proverbial ice and help to establish friendships quickly.

Identification

A mutual friend is an individual who has established a friendship with two people. When those two people meet, they learn that they share the same friend; that friend they have in common is their mutual friend. If the two people become friends, a circle of friendship develops between the mutual friend and the other individuals. Mutual friendships are commonplace in schools, where kids are introduced to each other by a mutual friend. Adults often meet other people in the workplace, bars, restaurants and other social settings due to a mutual friend introducing them.

Social Networks

The concept of mutual friends extends to social networking as well. A mutual friend on the website Facebook is someone who is friends with a Facebook user and the person who's profile the user views. When visiting the Facebook profile of a person with whom you're not friends, the website displays a list of people who are that person's friends and your friends; they are mutual friends. The website Twitter similarly integrates a mutual friends list in its service. If you visit a person's profile on Twitter, the website lists the friends that you follow that also follow that person.

Dating

Mutual friendships serve as the foundation for many dating experiences. For example, two people dating may be compatible due to having a lot in common between themselves and with a mutual friend. Blind dates are occasionally set up by a mutual friend who believes his two friends are a good match for each other. If the blind date is disastrous, however, the mutual friend risks straining both of his friendships.

Mutual Friend's Companions

Mutual friendships are beneficial in making new friends. Creating an opportunity to meet your mutual friend's social circle is a way to develop new friends easily. The opportunity could be a party or other social event. According to a SucceedSocially.com article, the friends are "pre-screened for characteristics you like because they already know your friend." The mutual friendship nearly guarantees you will see your buddy's friends again. After repeated encounters, a friendship may develop naturally between you and your mutual friend's companions.

About the Author

Courtney Spratley is a professional writer of instructional articles specializing in social, accounting, technology and government-related topics. She holds a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and is now pursuing a Master of Public Administration from the University of Houston.

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