"Are you my friend?" : Negotiating friendship in conversations between network marketers and their prospects

Kenneth C.C. Kong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

9 Citations (Scopus)


Friendship is studied as a culturally and contextually embedded entity. Focusing on the interactions between network marketers and their prospects, this article proposes four key central elements through which participants make sense of themselves when their identities are in transgression and conflict. Instead of being essentialist, the four elements of friendship - intimacy, control, trust, and positiveness - are highly interactional and dynamic elements that can be negotiated by participants in a conversation. It is argued that Grice's Cooperative Principle is valid, but this should be enhanced by participants' specific culture and prior experience. The notion of "face"in politeness models should be expanded in light of its dynamic characteristics in interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-522
Number of pages36
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number4
Early online date22 Oct 2003
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Culture
  • Discourse analysis
  • Friendship
  • Identity
  • Network marketing
  • Politeness

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