Friendship between two people from different cultures is an encounter between two divergent value systems. For an intercultural friendship not only to develop but also to last, it will be required to somehow bridge these differences; something which needs to be an ongoing process throughout the friendship. This can happen – at least partly – through value change. Values are difficult to change, but value change is possible and can be both automatic and effortful (Bardi & Goodwin, 2011).
In a study of 15 intercultural dyads of friends (Lee, 2008) three stages of intercultural friendship were found, with two transitional periods. In the first stage, the encounter, the intercultural friends met for the first time. This was followed by a transitional period in which friends displayed various needs or interests motivating them to continue the friendship. In the second stage, friends tended to engage in frequent interaction. This was followed by a transitional period in which there was a turning point. The turning point marked the start of a third stage, of involvement. In this stage the emerging rules (e.g., confidentiality, mutuality) and roles (e.g., the peacemaker, the “lecturer”) for both friends were much better understood in terms or what is appropriate or inappropriate to be done. The stages found in this study were similar to those found for friends of the same culture, but the transition periods were never studied among same culture friends. In an earlier study on these same intercultural friendship dyads “seven types of activities were identified: (1) positivities/providing assistance; (2) rituals, activities, rules, and roles; (3) self-disclosure; (4) networking; (5) exploring cultures and languages; (6) emphasizing similarities and exploring differences; and (7) conflict/conflict management” (Lee, 2006, p. 3)