Friendship Articles

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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA

Friendship 

What is friendship? 

Friendship is an interpersonal connection between two or more people that is platonic. When you are friends with someone, you care about each other. There is a difference between close friends, good friends, and acquaintances. Acquaintances are people that you are friendly with and interact with casually, whereas close friends or good friends are people that you know on a deeper level. A very close friend would be considered a best friend. You may become so close with a best friend or multiple best friends that you feel like they're family members. 

How do you make new friends? 

There are many places that you can make friends. Often, people make friends at school, their workplace, in clubs or groups that they are a part of. Someone might start as an acquaintance and become a close friend. Close friendships take some time to develop. Over time, you will get to know each other well and will share memories with one another that lead to a close friendship. Not everyone will be your friend, and that's okay. The right people for you are out there, so don't stop looking for them if you haven't yet found close friends. Social skills come more naturally to some than others. However, you can learn and develop social skills over time that will help you to make new friends. Putting yourself in a setting where you are around other people is a good way to develop social skills and make friends. You can also talk to a counselor or therapist if you struggle with these things. 

What are the benefits of friendship? 

For obvious reasons, friendship is good for your mental health, but did you know that it's also good for your physical health? It's true! Studies show that physical health is enhanced by social relationships. Social interaction is necessary for the wellbeing of people, and it's always positive to have someone to rely on when you need it. 

What makes a good friend? 

A good friend will make an effort to understand you. They will respect your needs and boundaries, and you will feel as though they "get" you. A good friend or a close friend should never make you feel like you are not good enough. Instead, they should raise you up. A close friend will be receptive to your feelings and will listen to what you have to say. No one is perfect, and even close friends or good friends have fights. In close friendships or good friendships, though, you will be able to work through the obstacles you face and may even become closer as a result. It's also important to note that close friendships will look different depending on who the individuals are as people. It will also look different depending on your stage of life. As a working professional, you might not have as much time to see your friends. However, it doesn't mean that you're no longer good friends. You value the time that you have together, and continue to make the relationship strong. 

Reciprocal vs. one-sided friends 

In a reciprocal friendship, you are there for each other. In a one-sided friendship, one person is invested, while the other isn't there when the person on the other side needs it. In a one-sided friendship, a person may be distant when friend is going through a tough time. In a reciprocal friendship, a friend will make an effort to understand what their friend is going through. If your friendship is "all about" one person, you are likely in a one-sided friendship. 

How to know when to end a friendship 

Ultimately, if a friendship isn't good for you, it might be time to end it. Sometimes, people grow apart, and that's okay. Ending a friendship doesn't have to mean having a massive fall out. People change, and so do their lives. However, in the case of a toxic friendship, there might be a more painful ending. If a friend is bullying you or negatively impacting your mental health, it's time to have a conversation with that person. If they're receptive to that conversation, you can likely repair the friendship. If they are not receptive to that conversation, however, repairing the friendship may not be possible. At the end of the day, it's important to do what's right for you and your mental health. If you are thinking about ending a friendship and aren't sure, talking to a mental health professional might be an option for you. A counselor or therapist will serve as an objective third-party that will help you look at the situation and troubleshoot what you can do to amend the relationship.

Resolve conflict in friendships 

Communication is key in any relationship. It is important to talk to your friend if a conflict arises. Make an effort to understand their side, and make sure they understand yours. Be candid, open, and honest. Close friendships develop out of understanding and aren't without problems. You should face problems when they arise so that you can work through the issue. If you are having trouble with maintaining close friendships, a counselor can help. In therapy, you can talk about any issues you have with your interpersonal connections. Friendship is important, and you deserve to have strong, healthy relationships that last a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is friendship in simple words?

In simple words, friendship is a close connection between two people. In healthy friendships, people feel loved and accepted by their friends. One characteristic of friendship is sharing good times with your friends, but that’s not all that friendship entails. When you think of a close friendship, you likely have a lot of happy memories with that person, and you’ll likely have memories of not-so-good times when you were there to support each other, too. 

What is a good friendship quote?

There are a lot of different friendship quotes you could choose from, but one is, “friends are chosen family.” There are many different kinds of familial relationships that operate outside of the nuclear family paradigm, and one of those is a chosen family. Some people do not have positive family dynamics with their biological family, so it is essential to recognize the chosen family. If you consider your friend to be a part of your family, you most certainly have a close friendship with that person. 

Another good friendship quote is “Make time for friends.” Many of us have busy lives and are focused on work, school, and parenting. Making time for your friends is an essential characteristic of friendship. Spending time with friends is a valuable act of self-care and love for everyone involved. Even when things get busy, cherishing your time together is essential for strong friendships. 

What makes someone a special friend?

Many of us have felt misunderstood in the past, so when we meet someone who sincerely understands us, it makes for a remarkable friendship. Friendships don’t form overnight. Building a friendship takes time, and you might not even realize it the first time you meet a new best friend. Over time, you’ll get to know each other and develop a bond that’s referred to as a special friendship.

How can you tell a fake friend?

If someone is a fake friend, you likely won’t feel great after spending time with them. Friendship in general should lift you up. The nature of friendship is that it’s a positive relationship between two or more people. You should feel better after you see your friends, not worse. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself every time you’re around someone, ask yourself why. A fake friend might manipulate you, cross your boundaries, share personal information without regard for your feelings, or use you. The idea that friendship means staying silent or allowing yourself to get bullied is false. If someone affects your physical or emotional health negatively, they’re a fake friend. 

When should you end a friendship?

If a friendship is harming your emotional wellbeing, you have every right to end it. Sometimes, people grow apart naturally. Healthy friendships require that both people feel safe and comfortable expressing their feelings to one another. Good friendships lift you up. We love friendship because it brings us joy, closeness, shared experiences, knowledge, and care. If someone ridicules you or shares aspects of your life that you told them to keep private such as those related to your relationship or family issues, it’s time to have a serious conversation with that person. Also, know that there’s nothing wrong with ending a friendship that’s toxic for you. In fact, there’s something very right about it. You deserve the kind of friendships that makes you feel good. 

What is healthy friendship?

Healthy friendships enhance your life. The general understanding of friendship is that, in a healthy friendship, you lift each other up and don’t put each other down. Friendship demands communication because, without it, one or both of you may feel unseen or unheard. Another vital characteristic of friendship that isn’t talked about as frequently is to have boundaries. Having boundaries is an essential and healthy characteristic of friendship because it allows you to understand each other’s needs. In a healthy friendship, you feel understood. You don’t feel exploited, betrayed, or like your boundaries don’t matter. Your network of friends should make you feel comfortable, respected, and as though you can be yourself. Strong friendships can involve hurdles, but working together to solve them can make your friendship even closer. Having the skills to solve problems and express your thoughts calmly is an important part of sustaining a friendship. 

How do you fix a friendship?

When it comes to fixing or sustaining a friendship, both parties have to want to do so. The fundamental nature of a friendship is that it’s mutual. The best way to fix a friendship is to have a respectful, candid conversation about the issue that disrupted your friendship in the first place. When you have this discussion, you must listen to one another and work to understand each other’s perspectives. The ability to do this is the reason why communication is such a fundamental characteristic of friendship. It’s also important to understand that sometimes, friendships end. The friendships you make now might even become lifelong friendships, so put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to meet new people. Even when you’ve been hurt in the past, the close friendship you deserve is out there. If you are having trouble with your relationships, one option is to seek the help of a licensed mental health provider.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is friendship in simple words?

In simple words, friendship is a close connection between two people. In healthy friendships, people feel loved and accepted by their friends. One characteristic of friendship is sharing good times with your friends, but that’s not all that friendship entails. When you think of a close friendship, you likely have a lot of happy memories with that person, and you’ll likely have memories of not-so-good times when you were there to support each other, too. 

What is a good friendship quote?

There are a lot of different friendship quotes you could choose from, but one is, “friends are chosen family.” There are many different kinds of familial relationships that operate outside of the nuclear family paradigm, and one of those is a chosen family. Some people do not have positive family dynamics with their biological family, so it is essential to recognize the chosen family. If you consider your friend to be a part of your family, you most certainly have a close friendship with that person. 

Another good friendship quote is “Make time for friends.” Many of us have busy lives and are focused on work, school, and parenting. Making time for your friends is an essential characteristic of friendship. Spending time with friends is a valuable act of self-care and love for everyone involved. Even when things get busy, cherishing your time together is essential for strong friendships. 

What makes someone a special friend?

Many of us have felt misunderstood in the past, so when we meet someone who sincerely understands us, it makes for a remarkable friendship. Friendships don’t form overnight. Building a friendship takes time, and you might not even realize it the first time you meet a new best friend. Over time, you’ll get to know each other and develop a bond that’s referred to as a special friendship.

How can you tell a fake friend?

If someone is a fake friend, you likely won’t feel great after spending time with them. Friendship in general should lift you up. The nature of friendship is that it’s a positive relationship between two or more people. You should feel better after you see your friends, not worse. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself every time you’re around someone, ask yourself why. A fake friend might manipulate you, cross your boundaries, share personal information without regard for your feelings, or use you. The idea that friendship means staying silent or allowing yourself to get bullied is false. If someone affects your physical or emotional health negatively, they’re a fake friend. 

When should you end a friendship?

If a friendship is harming your emotional wellbeing, you have every right to end it. Sometimes, people grow apart naturally. Healthy friendships require that both people feel safe and comfortable expressing their feelings to one another. Good friendships lift you up. We love friendship because it brings us joy, closeness, shared experiences, knowledge, and care. If someone ridicules you or shares aspects of your life that you told them to keep private such as those related to your relationship or family issues, it’s time to have a serious conversation with that person. Also, know that there’s nothing wrong with ending a friendship that’s toxic for you. In fact, there’s something very right about it. You deserve the kind of friendships that makes you feel good. 

What is healthy friendship?

Healthy friendships enhance your life. The general understanding of friendship is that, in a healthy friendship, you lift each other up and don’t put each other down. Friendship demands communication because, without it, one or both of you may feel unseen or unheard. Another vital characteristic of friendship that isn’t talked about as frequently is to have boundaries. Having boundaries is an essential and healthy characteristic of friendship because it allows you to understand each other’s needs. In a healthy friendship, you feel understood. You don’t feel exploited, betrayed, or like your boundaries don’t matter. Your network of friends should make you feel comfortable, respected, and as though you can be yourself. Strong friendships can involve hurdles, but working together to solve them can make your friendship even closer. Having the skills to solve problems and express your thoughts calmly is an important part of sustaining a friendship. 

How do you fix a friendship?

When it comes to fixing or sustaining a friendship, both parties have to want to do so. The fundamental nature of a friendship is that it’s mutual. The best way to fix a friendship is to have a respectful, candid conversation about the issue that disrupted your friendship in the first place. When you have this discussion, you must listen to one another and work to understand each other’s perspectives. The ability to do this is the reason why communication is such a fundamental characteristic of friendship. It’s also important to understand that sometimes, friendships end. The friendships you make now might even become lifelong friendships, so put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to meet new people. Even when you’ve been hurt in the past, the close friendship you deserve is out there. If you are having trouble with your relationships, one option is to seek the help of a licensed mental health provider.

What is true friendship?

People have been trying to define true friendship for literally thousands of years. All the way back in Ancient Greece, the philosopher Aristotle wrote about the definition of true friendship in his manuscript called Nicomachean Ethics. He claimed that friendship is a bond that is “stronger than justice” that holds two people together. He also defines friendship as a virtue that is required for living well; he linked being a good friend with being a good person.

Aristotle also recognized that friendship, although it is a means to the end of living well and being a good person, is also praiseworthy and wonderful in its own right. That is to say, friendship, in and of itself, is a good thing. 

When it comes to defining real friendship, that definition can get a lot more subjective. True friends are friends that will stick with you even if the circumstances surrounding the friendship are difficult or not ideal. A true friend will sacrifice some of their own time, energy, resources, or effort in order to help their friend. In a true friendship, both friends feel the benefits of friendship. Aristotle’s exploration of the “friendship of the good” comes closest to describing this true friend: it describes two people with similar virtues and values who work together to see these values and virtues brought to life in the world around them. 

What are the 3 types of friendship?

The categories for friendships were first explained by the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In his book Nicomachean Ethics, he set out three main sorts of friendship in terms of the values and intentions of those involved in the friendship. Most friendships can fall pretty squarely into one of three categories:

  • Friendship of Utility: This kind of friendship exists between you and someone that could be or is useful to you in some way. For example, you might be friends with your classmate simply because you share notes after each lecture. You don’t really hang out outside of class, but you’re friendly, and this friendliness benefits both of you in a way that is practical rather than relational. 
  • Friendship of Pleasure: This sort of friendship describes a relationship between you and a person that you enjoy spending time with. Usually, these friendships are centered on a common activity or interest. For instance, the people you chat with at the gym or the neighbor you pop round on fall into this category: you talk to them and enjoy talking with them because you have interests in common.
  • Friendship of the Good: These friendships are the ones that fit Aristotle’s definition of friendship as a virtue. That is, friendships of the good are based on virtues such as respect, honesty, and admiration. In a healthy friendship, these virtues are extended both ways from both friends. For example, your close childhood friend who has been with you through thick and thin through several years would fit the definition of friendship of the good. 

Of course, as friendships grow and evolve over time, they can shift categories. What starts out as a friendship of utility can certainly grow and develop into a friendship of the good. Remember, when categorizing a friendship in terms of values and intentions, those values and intentions are subject to change over the course of time. This means that forms of friendship will also develop and grow with time.

What is friendship in simple words?

According to Anais Nin, the best definition of friendship is bigger than yourself. She says, “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” When she says that a “friend represents a world in us,” she means that friendship is the connection that opens you up to the world around you. It allows you to see the world in bigger and broader terms, and it forms the basic building block for all of your social connections. 

What makes someone a special friend?

A special friend is defined by a friendship that can withstand – and often has withstood – time and trials. A special friend sticks with you through thick and thin, even when the costs sometimes outweigh the benefits of friendship. 

How do you know a real friend?

A real friend is someone who sticks with you, even when things aren’t going the way you planned or the way you wanted. They aren’t interested in only the benefits of friendship that they can reap: they also consider your needs and desires. 

What is a good friendship?

A good friendship, or what Aristotle called “a friendship of the good,” is defined by the shared values and virtues of the people involved in the friendship. In the friendship of the good, friends work together to make these virtues a true part of their lives and the world around them. 

How do you build friendship?

The first step if you want to build new friendships is to find people who have things in common with you. This is easier than you think: wherever you go in a day, there are other people who are there, too! Take a look around your workplace, your favorite coffee shop, your gym, your place of worship, or the places you frequent throughout the week. These places are full of people with whom you already have some commonality. 

The next step is to approach a person (or people) in one of these social settings. Even if your social skills aren’t the best, it doesn’t take much to strike up a conversation. First, focus on what you have in common, then move towards more personal conversation. What do you have in common? Over time, and with more contact, you’ll be able to watch these new friendships grow and develop.

When it comes to maintaining friendships, communication is key. Keeping in contact and intentionally spending time together is the best way to strengthen and maintain a friendship.  Even if your social skills aren’t winning you awards, you’ll know you’re in a friendship worth maintaining if you feel that you can express yourself freely and openly without being judged or rejected by your friend. Make sure that your friends feel the same way by giving them room to express themselves and their emotions. Listening plays an important role in friendship. While you might not feel comfortable to express everything about yourself immediately in new friendships, with time you’ll be able to open up and share more and more with a friend. Over time, you’ll form closer friendships. Let it happen naturally; you’ll find the right people. 

Kids tend to form friendships at school, those who live in the same neighborhood, or with peers engaged in similar activities. Adults tend to put more active effort into finding friends. However, again, it’s easier to make friends than you may believe. Adult friends may meet through classes, activities, living in the same area, frequenting the same places, or through the Internet. If you struggle with forming friends or that thing called friendship in general, actively seek more ways to put yourself out there and meet people. Also, refer to the question, “what values improve friendship?” below to see what factors or components of friendship help to improve and maintain the relationship between friends. You want to make sure that you are a good friend, after all. 

What is the importance of friendship?

Friendship is important because it is the basic building block of your social life. The connections that you forge through friendships take the pressure off of your individual social skills and allow you to better connect to society as a whole. It’s like going to a party: if you don’t know anyone there, you’re more likely to spend a lot of time and energy trying to meet people who may already be invested in friendships and relationships that don’t involve you. You’ll spend the bulk of the party trying to build connections, and you won’t have much time and energy to just enjoy the party. However, if you attend the party with even just one friend, you can rely on them to introduce you to others. That friendship opens the door and shares the burden of the social experience.

Just like a party, society as a whole requires these benefits of friendship to make it possible to navigate the social sphere. 

How do you express friendship?

There are countless ways to express friendship. You can get your friend a gift, or you can celebrate Valentine’s Day or International Friendship Day with them. There’s no right or wrong way to express friendship: it’ll be different for every friend that you have.

The best way to express friendship in general, though, is to watch out for and anticipate your friend’s needs and desires. Then, help to meet those needs and desires. The old saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed” holds true for almost every friendship!

What are the symbols of friendship?

Different cultures around the world have different symbols of friendship. For example, groups of friends might get matching jewelry or tattoos. Or, friends might be constantly tagging each other on social media. The symbols of friendship vary from culture to culture and from friendship to friendship. However, even without these outward symbols of friendship, it’s pretty clear to see when friends are actually devoted to each other when they act in ways that put each other first.

Is friendship a value?

According to Aristotle, friendship is a value, just like honesty or patience or responsibility. Also according to Aristotle, friendship was a marker of a good person: someone who is a good friend is also, by definition, a good and noble person. 

What is love in a friendship?

The love that exists in a friendship is a special kind of love. It’s usually called “Platonic love,” although Plato himself never wrote on the topic. The love in a friendship is often based on common interests and values, and is developed through time and shared experiences. This love also prompts friends to put each other’s needs and desires first, so that a truly loving friendship is beneficial to both friends. According to the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, there are different kinds of love agape eros philia and storge, to name a few. Philia is a type of love that translates to friendship or love that is related to friendship, which is another interesting fact about friendship. “Eros” means passionate love, and “storge” refers to familial love, which are some of the many types of love. Love unrequited or unrequited love is another form of love. Oxford university press has a variety of resources for learning more about Greek words and their meanings.

What makes someone a bad friend?

Often, the factors that will make someone a bad friend could be dishonesty or lying, manipulation, bullying, pressuring you to do things you don't want to do (peer pressure), or telling your secrets to other people. A bad friend may put you down, or they might not accept you for who you are, both of which are incredibly painful. During a friendship formation, you may not notice these traits, or they might not show up yet. Don't blame yourself if you get into a friendship that's toxic for you. Instead, set boundaries and do what you need to do, even if that means leaving the friendship entirely. Especially if a friendship hurts your self-esteem or if you feel that you're being bullied by a friend and nothing helps, it's not a connection that you need to stay involved in. 

What values improve friendship?

Since friendship plays such an important role in our lives, it's beneficial to know how to maintain and improve friendships, especially if you are having difficulties within friendships or if friendship is something that you struggle with. Values that improve friendship include:

  • Emotional support and emotional availability
  • Trustworthiness
  • Independence 
  • Communication 
  • Honesty
  • Respect 

Mutual support and respect are two of the most essential things in personal relationships, including friendships. Respect is an important component of friendship that must be present for the friendship to be healthy. Friendships include intimacy in terms of platonic closeness. Intimacy doesn’t just refer to romantic relationships. The meaning of the word “intimacy” is actually “closeness,” which is something friends tend to establish on a deeper level over time. Many people also value things like humor in their friends. Part of what we value in our friendship will depend on the nature of friendship or the nature of a particular friendship. There are a variety of forms of friendship or kinds of friendship, including friends, close friends, best friends, and acquaintances. You may also have childhood friendships or childhood friends and friends that you make as an adult. There may be differences between friends, but differences between friends don't make for a bad friendship. In fact, differences between friends may actually enhance a friendship because you'll be able to learn from each other. Additionally, you will be able to maintain your sense of self. It would be boring if we were all the same, so having friends that aren't exactly like us is a positive thing. That said, it can be nice to have friends with certain similarities. 

What are the values of friendship?

Friendships play a very significant and important role in our emotional and physical well-being. Here are some of the things that make friendship valuable: 

  • Improved self-esteem
  • An increased sense of happiness 
  • Lower stress levels 
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure 
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Social support

There’s a large body of research on health and the importance of social connections that backs up the validity of the impact that interpersonal relationships have on health. A friend will be there for you during the hard times, whether that’s a rough Valentine’s Day, or a time of grief. 

What is a fact about friendship?

There are so many different interesting facts about friendship. One is that males can have female friendships, and females can have male friendships. Despite the popular belief that males with female friendships or females with male friendships always become romantic or physically intimate by default, this is not always the case. Although the friendly feeling can turn in to something more, people can have close friendships that are same sex friendships or different sex friendships. Another fun fact is that both infants and animals understand the concept of friendship. It’s also said that the average number of friends an adult person has is 8.6. Statistics regarding income level and age show that those who are 65+ have an average of 12.5 friends, where those aged 18-29 have an average of 8.9, those aged 30-40 have an average of 7.0 friends, and those aged 50-64 have about 8.7 friends. Additionally, those who made under $30,000 annually have an average of 9.6 friends, where those who make $75,000 or more have an average of 7.4. This study did not include family members as friends. Again, friendship is also known to be good for your health and wellbeing; it reduces your risk of a variety of health determinants and is known to help people through illness as well as heartbreak and loss. Friendships are valuable, joyous parts of our lives, so if you struggle with anything related to friendship, don’t be afraid to reach out for support. 

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