This week I took the Friendship Questionnaire (sometimes called the Friendship Quotient).
The Friendship Questionnaire (FQ) was developed in 2003 as part of Simon Baron-Cohen’s ongoing quest to prove his “extreme male brain” theory of Asperger’s. Consequently, the FQ measures a very specific model of friendship to prove a point about people on the spectrum.
The developers of the FQ say that an individual will score highly on it if they:
- enjoy close, empathic supportive friendships
- like and are interested in people
- enjoy interaction with others for its own sake
- find friendships important (Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright, 2003)
The questions are based on assumed gender differences in forming friendships. The FQ developers hypothesized that NT women would score highest, with men scoring slightly lower than NT women, and ASD individuals of both genders scoring significantly lower than NT men.
The average FQ scores from the 2003 study were:
- NT females: 90.0
- NT males: 70.3
- ASD females: 59.8
- ASD males: 53.2
The fundamental basis for the gender-difference hypothesis seems to be that men and people on the spectrum prefer activity-based friendships. Neurotypical women, on the other hand, are assumed to prefer interaction-based friendships, where the act of connecting is of primary importance.
Since every friendship I’ve had as an adult has grown out of a common interest, it’s safe to say I fall into the activity-based preference. Honestly, I have no real idea how friendship works in most cases, so let’s take the test.
Taking the Test
You can take the FQ at the Aspie Tests website. Click the link for the Friendship Quotient and then complete the first three questions (you don’t need to create an account unless you want to) and click the submit button to start the quiz.
There are 34 multiple choice questions.
I found some of these questions hard to answer because there was no “neither” option. For example, on #6 I literally don’t have a wide enough social circle that it requires me to choose between asking someone to meet first or thinking of an activity then choosing a person to do it with. #9: I have no idea. Neither? Why is there no neither option?!
For some questions, I ended up choosing answers based on how I’ve interacted with friends in the past because I couldn’t come up with a current example to base my answer on.
Scoring the Test
After submitting your answers, you’ll get your FQ score. The possible scoring range is 0 to 135. I got 39.
I’m not sure what to make of my 39. I’m not surprised by it. Going down the list of qualities that the FQ tests for:
- I enjoy close, supportive friendships, but I don’t need more than a couple at a time to feel that I have supportive connections in my life.
- I don’t really like or have an interest in people as a general rule (sorry, human race).
- I don’t generally enjoy interaction with others for its own sake, which is different from not enjoying interaction with others at all.
- I find friendship moderately important, but again I don’t need many friends to feel like I have a satisfactory level of social interaction in my life.
The Bottom Line
The research I read on the FQ doesn’t imply that a low FQ score is “bad”, which is good to see, because I think the FQ is testing for a very specific model of friendship. The research does say that those with low FQ scores tend to have high AQ and low EQ scores.