Friendship is a type of affective relationship between two people, which involves a certain degree of camaraderie, confidence, and cordiality, very similar to love, but devoid of romantic connotations. In principle, friendship manifests itself as a mutual feeling, established by equality of views of life or of projects in common.
There are no formal parameters to study friendships and it is considered that each is unique and proposes a unique path. Some take a few minutes to be established and others instead take years to set. As some are closer and closer, while others are more distant. Some may even go through moments of eroticism, become love, or let go as a result of a failed love. Some, finally, can be finished.
This type of bond is usually between humans, but it is also used to refer to relationships of commensalism or bonding between human beings and other higher animals, such as dogs: not in vain are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend.”
Types of friendship
According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote about friendship in his ‘Ethics NICOM to quea’ (sixth century BC), there are three types of friendship: the useful, the accidental and the good. The first two are accidental and the third intentional.
- Friendship of utility: The one that takes place between two people who undertake a common goal and help each other on the road, or in which they get some kind of benefit from being friends. According to the philosopher, these friendships tend to run out when the objectives are reached or the benefits are over.
- Accidental friendship: Those that are based on the pleasure of sharing and discourse, typical of young people and depend largely on tastes, so that the time the sentence to disappear, because with growth, tastes are the first things to change.
- Friendship of the good: The most lasting of the three and the one that really embodies the concept of friendship, is based on a vision of the good of life and virtue, that is, of certain moral precepts and a certain way of understanding existence. It does not aspire to receive anything in exchange for it, other than the same link (reciprocity) and can be the most lasting friendships, with periods of years or even of a lifetime.
Other forms of friendship, addressed not so much from the philosophical as from other perspectives, allow us to talk about:
- Friends with “right” or with “benefits”: It is a friendship relationship in which the two persons are also sporadic sexual or erotic partners, without this in theory leading to deeper relationships.
- Close friend: Usually we talk about close friends or best friends, to separate those “special” or very deep friends, in comparison with others: it is a special distinction.
- Virtual friend: Friendships are called that are made through the Internet, either through forums, social networks, email, etc.
- False friends: Also called toxic friends, are those who pretend to be friends with someone or who are only for interested purposes.
Importance of friendship
Friendship is considered a value. Since we are gregarious beings, that is, we tend to make groups and live in society, depending on each other. In that sense, we require allies: people who pursue similar goals to ours or with similar tastes, who accompany us in life and who “team up” with us.
On the other hand, friendship offers human beings the possibility of sharing their inner world: their spiritual concerns, their feelings, their existential questions, all in a safe environment and with a person of trust, who listens to us and gives us a disinterested opinion.