What Is Friendship?
Have you ever taken time to think who is a friend and what the term “friendship” means? If you answered no, it is important that you consider thinking what this term signifies. Well, the term friendship has been defined differently by different people, and across various platforms.
Be that as it may, you will agree with me that friendship should never be taken lightly. It should be valued and treasured. What’s more, it is important to note that friendship is very sensitive. In fact, some authors think that friendship is as delicate as glass. What that means is that if you meddle with your frienship too much, it will eventually get destroyed or crack.
When a friendship ends, it can be repaired, but it might not be the same as it was before the break-up. However, true friends should be able to see past the cracks or their differences and move on. But what is friendship?
In this article, you are going to gain insights on what is friendship, how cultures and societies view friendship, the benefits of friendship, types of friends, as well as some tips on how to choose the right friends. Please keep reading.
Definition of Friendship
So, how would you define friendship? Different individuals have defined the term friendship differently. Well, in this article, we will define friendship as a personal relationship that is based on a concern for each other’s welfare, and that involves some level of intimacy, affection, mutual assistance, and companionship.
Friendship is essential in our lives. It is critical because the special concern you have for your friends can help shape who you are as a person. On the other hand, some friendships can be disastrous to your life, particularly when you have too many friends.
It is important to note that friendship does not just happen. It takes time and effort to build it up. With that said, meeting someone for the first time does not automatically make you his or her friend. It might take days, weeks, or even months for you to earn that title of a friend.
As you look for friends, it is critical to remember that some friends will be false, and others will betray you. Such friendships are certainly very disappointing. With that said, true friendship requires honesty, patience, and devotion.
Each individual should cherish friendship. As friends, you should purpose to not only take care of your friendship, but also water it daily just as you would water a plant.
How Cultures and Societies Think of Friendship
Culture has a big influence on various facets of human behaviors. As a result, the concept of friendship certainly differs in various cultures. On the hand, society also affects friends and their various social activities.
In other words, society not only affects how people interact, but also how they make meanings of their day-to-day experiences. Different cultures tend to support different relationships. Therefore, a certain culture will either encourage or prevent its people from engaging in certain activities.
The cultural views and beliefs of a certain people have a big influence on how people make friends. However, regardless of ethnicity, religious beliefs, or color, people form friendships and engage in the same activities.
In other words, people from different cultures engage in similar activities such as going to parties, clubs, dances, movies, just to mention, but a few. However, some activities are considered to be for blacks or whites. As a result, some races will rarely engage in some activities.
On the other hand, your religious background can also determine how you choose your friends.
With regard to how society thinks about friendship, society has norms. Norms refer to the behavioral expectations of each individual. Therefore, society plays a big role in how you choose friends, as well as your activities. Your friends and activities need to be societally acceptable because if they are not, you are likely to be labelled deviant.
How you were brought up, as well as your class and status, have a big influence on who you make friends with. For instance, you are likely to make friends with people who have similar financial status, or people from a similar background.
On the other hand, if you are from a poor background, you are more likely to make friends with people with a similar background. However, people still form friendships across classes due to similarities in social activities or personality.
In a country like Jamaica, for instance, people tend to form friendships regardless of each other’s status, class or social activities.
Why People Should Have Friends According to Science
Making friends and maintaining them can take a lot of your time and effort. However, having friends can greatly enrich your life and improve your general well-being.
According to scientists, maintaining solid friendships can increase your life span, and your determination. In addition, it is believed that solid friendships help to ensure that you do not spend money on detrimental illnesses such as high blood pressure, breast cancer, depression, just to mention, but a few.
With that said, let us now look at the benefits of friendship.
1) Improves your mood
According to a study in the Journal Royal Society Open Science, your mood is as good as the kind of friends you maintain. The study evaluated fluctuations of mood over a period of one year.
The researchers wanted to gauge the connection between individuals’ emotions and those of their friends. The study discovered that individuals whose friends reported being in bad mood were more likely to also be in bad mood or feel down.
With that said, it is important that you spend your time with positive and happy friends. Such friends will not only improve your mood, but they will also enhance your attitude towards life.
However, if you have toxic friends, you can improve your mood and that of your friends by engaging in mood elevating activities. Such activities include exercising, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress.
2) Encourage you to pursue your goals
Whether you are trying to improve your life, or quit an undesirable behavior, having a trustworthy friend in your life can increase your determination.
In addition, healthy friendships play a big role in your overall success. Friends motivate and support you, particularly when you are facing obstacles to success. They offer you the support, life skills and feedback you need to accomplish your goals and dreams.
In addition, friends listen and offer words of encouragement, particularly when you are dealing with limiting thoughts and setbacks. A true friend will help you identify your strengths, as well as the qualities that will help you achieve your success.
Supportive friends not only make you more confident to take risks, but they also provide a sense of security. With that said, surrounding yourself with driven and positive individuals can be valuable to all areas of your life.
3) Minimize your stress levels and depression
Friends are valuable. What’s more, you will agree with me that it is easy to discuss sensitive issues confidently with a friend than with a family member. With that said, maintaining close relationships can go a long way in protecting your mental health.
Friendships increase your ability to cope with difficult life events. Engaging in social activities and interacting with your friends can strengthen your immune system.
In addition, engaging in social activities and maintaining your close relationships helps to ensure that you are not lonely and isolated. Isolation and loneliness are some of the triggers of depression.
The best thing about your true friends is that they can help you recover from a mental health problem. Your friend will never give up on you even when you are in distress. They help you to get a grip on yourself, and help to ensure that you are not letting your condition to dominate your life.
4) Support you during and through difficult times
Sharing your problems and difficulties with close friends is a great way of coping, especially when you are going through loss, illness, or challenging situations.
In other words, true friends are always there to listen to you non-judgmentally, which can help you come up with solutions to your problems. In addition, they can provide you with helpful information, opinion, or advice that you can use to steer yourself through hard times.
With that said, it is critical that you maintain positive friends who model healthy behaviors even during your life changing situations.
5) Support you in your old age years
During your senior years, retirement, death of loved ones or illness can often leave you feeling lonely and isolated. Therefore, maintaining close relationships is important because you will always have people to turn to for companionship and support.
Supportive relationships during old age are valuable. They help to decrease chances of suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, stress and experiencing feelings of loss and loneliness.
6) Boost your self esteem
People who do not have friends are often perceived as outcasts. What’s more, they tend to be bullied, get depressed, lonely and experience shame. In addition, people avoid maintaining close relationships for fear of being judged or rejected. However, having real friends or talking to a trusted friend can elevate your self-esteem.
With that said, surrounding yourself with friends who compliment you, make you smile, or friends who comfort you during hard times is critical. It is imperative to maintain friends who encourage you to talk about your insecurities, and let you know that you are human.
True friends point out your strengths or good points, which boosts your confidence levels and make you feel better about yourself.
Type of Friends and Their Effects on Our Life
According to Aristotle, there are three types of friendships, as you will see below:
1)Friendship on the basis of utility
This is the kind of friendship where you and your friend benefit from each other.
2)Friendship on the basis of pleasure
This is the kind of friendship where you and your friend are drawn to each other’s good looks, wit, or other pleasurable qualities.
3)Friendship based on goodness
This is a kind of friendship where you and your friend admire each other’s goodness. What’s more, you tend to help each other strive for goodness.
How These Friendships Influence Your Life
Friendships based on utility and pleasure are perceived as accidental. This is because when people become friends, they are normally motivated by their own utility and pleasure. In other words, people who engage in this kinds of friendships are rarely brought together by things that are essential to the nature of their friendship.
Friends of utility rarely maintain each other’s company because they are not pleasant to each other. They are normally in the friendship because of their expectations of advantage.
Friendship of utility and friendship of pleasure are short-lived, particularly because the needs and pleasures of the individuals in such relationships are likely to change as time progresses. In other words, if the benefit of the utility or pleasure ends, the friendship tends to end.
On the other hand, friendship based on goodness tends to last long. This is because goodness is a lasting quality. Good friends tend to be valuable to each other. They are more likely to please each other for a long time.
Well, developing a friendship based on goodness can take a lot of your time and effort, but it is certainly the best friendship you will ever have. While bad people are likely to be friends for pleasure or utility, good people tend to be friends for the sake of each other. Good people have the best interest of each other at heart.
Tips To Find Right Friend
As mentioned earlier, having a good friend is important to your overall well-being. With that said, below are some tips that will help to ensure that you are keeping the right company.
1) Take your time
It is important that you give your friendship time to mature. This is because first impressions can be deceptive or misleading. When you meet someone for the first time, he or she might appear to be a certain way. However, when you get to know them better, you get to realize that they are completely different.
With that said, you can only be able to determine if someone is a good friend overtime, and not after a week or a month.
2) Pay attention
When choosing a friend, it is important to be aware of the red flags. Therefore, you need to pay attention to how your friend behaves. For instance, does the person you consider to be your friend lie, betray or insult you?
Do they keep their word? Are they needy, envious, or angry all the time. In essence, it is important that you’re able to determine if a friendship will be bad for your health. If you realize that being friends with a certain individual hurts, then it is wise that you disband such a relationship, or avoid it.
3) Choose a friend with similar values
It is critical that you choose friends who value the same things as you do. Like-minded friends tend to get along easily. Your level of understanding will be better, and your approach to life will be the same.
Diversity is a good thing, but if you want to minimize negativity and compromises, it is imperative that you make friends with people who have similar values and beliefs.
Such friends tend to bring a balance, particularly in areas they are stronger than you because they understand you well. In other words, having similar value systems allows you to sharpen each other or utilize each other’s strengths.
4) Choose friends with common interests
According to research, people tend to form circles and cliques of friends with common interests, which can be same profession, religion, politcs, music or sports.
With that said, you are likely to gravitate towards individuals who enjoy the same things as you do, or who support the same basketball or football team, for instance.
With that said, common interests tend to bring individuals together and support friendships. So, it is important that you choose your friends on the basis of shared interests.
Having common interests with your friends ensures that you have something to talk about. In addition, you will always have something to do when you are together. A good friend is one who enjoys the same kind of activities as you do.
Good friends, particularly those with common interests are ever willing to be part of each other’s interests.
5) Choose a friend you like
It is normal to connect with someone immediately. This can happen because you love their style, personality, or sense of humor, just to mention, but a few.
It is also normal to find someone who shares your values and interests, but not have a friendship-spark towards them. What I’m I trying to say? Well, you are more likely to enjoy a friendship or respond better when likability is mutual.
6) Choose a friend who celebrates your success and victories
Another tip for choosing a great friend is to choose someone who is willing to celebrate your victories with you. Choose a friend who does not compete with you or feel obliged to share his or her victories anytime you share your victories.
What’s more, it is important to maintain friends who do not get jealous or begrudge you for finding success. Always remember that a true friend is one who is ever ready to celebrate your victory and one who is happy for you when you succeed.