Formation and Benefits of Intercultural Friendships: The Role of Communication

Marlene Kastner

Abstract

This qualitative study provides novel insights into exploring factors that influence intercultural friendship formation and friendship benefits, focusing on the role of communication. A research gap has been addressed by focusing on Muslim women who wear the hijab and exploring what factors had influenced their friendship formation with people from culturally different backgrounds and what impact the friendship had on the self. Findings suggested that cultural, linguistic and religious similarity was deemed as not important for friendship formation. Instead, similar values, self-disclosure and respectful communication assisted intercultural friendship formation. Friendship barriers included cultural misconceptions and behavioral uncertainty. Clear evidence emerged that these intercultural friendships led to positive attitudinal changes of the individuals within and beyond the friendship. This included increased cultural understanding, acceptance and self-reflection. It was revealed that cultural misconceptions (and levels of Islamophobia) were eliminated and ethnocentrism was reduced.

Keywords:
    intercultural friendships, intercultural communication, friendship formation, Muslim, hijab, Islamophobia

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Authors

Marlene Kastner
marlene.kastner@outlook.com (Primary Contact)
Author Biography

Marlene Kastner, School of Communication and Arts, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia.

Marlene Kastner is currently undertaking a PhD in the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland, Australia, with a strong interest in intercultural communication and intercultural adaptation, especially in higher education settings. Marlene holds a graduate certificate in education (TESOL) from Queensland University of Technology, a master of communication from The University of Queensland and a bachelor of international business from Griffith University, Australia. Additional research interests include intercultural and academic adjustment of international students at higher education institutions.

Kastner, M. (2022). Formation and Benefits of Intercultural Friendships: The Role of Communication. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 21(3), 26–40. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v21i3.19

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