Love in Friendship

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February 20, 2022

Writers: Angel Almeda, Jasmin Cyrille Tecson
Editor: K Ballesteros
Researchers: Angel Almeda, Jasmin Cyrille Tecson
Peer Reviewer: Angelica Jane Evangelista
Creatives: Sarah Mondoy, Mitz Sabellano, Llysa Jan Fincale, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio
Tweet Chat Moderators: Christine Joy Salvacruz, Marc John Paul Agbuya, Patricia Sevilla, Marian Lorrice Apostol
Twitter Spaces Moderators: Richardson Mojica, Aziel Marie Libanan

 

Love is the life of every friendship. It is always seen as the center of a relationship despite the differences the person inside the relationship has. Friendship is a form of social connection that is crucial to personal well-being. In the study Suicide: A study in sociology,  it was argued that a person that has no social relationships is at risk for suicide and this love inside the friendship saves and gives meaning to a person’s life, helping one another to be socially connected. In fact, friendship is a necessity; we are taught that  “no man is an island” and research proved that we are social creatures who need each other to survive. In simple terms, friendship is equivalent to food and water [3].

Friendship has this distinctive kind of concern, care, or sympathy for your friend, which are acts of love. We have lived in a society where we place more importance on romantic bonds. In reality, though, friends tend to have a greater impact on one’s physical and mental health. In a longitudinal study on the effect of social networks on 10-year survival in very old Australians, it was shown that strong social networks with friends and confidants help with survival over the following decade [6].

Close relationships make us human, make us feel things, feel loved and worthy, and give us purpose that life is worth living for. Knowing that we cannot live without this relationship, we must know and ask ourselves first to understand our interpersonal relationship because a friendship consists of two or more people. In order to be involved, we must understand our own calling to be able to form the truest bond [3].

Defining Friendship

When we talk about “love” the first thing that comes to our mind is a romantic relationship. However, there are more types or kinds of love that we receive apart from it. One integral kind of love that we have in life is called friendship. Friend or “kaibigan” in Tagalog actually came from the root word “pag-ibig” which translates as love[10]. In Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, he explained that the “Liking or Friendship” type of love exists where both people share intimacy with one another. Sternberg later defined Intimacy as feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondness [9]. Aristotle also has a counterpart and coined the term “philia” which he defined as an encouraging, kind, and authentic form of love [2]. He also stated that there are general characteristics to view friendship like utility, pleasure, and virtue [1]. Following this, a philosophical perspective regarding how the nature of friendship is defined was formed with three themes: Mutual Caring, Intimacy, and Shared Activity [5].

  1. Mutual Caring – when we start to care about something, we most likely think it is worthwhile and important. This is no different when applied to people we care about. We see the importance of our friends so we give and at times seek care from them.
  2. Intimacy – Amongst any other relationship, friendship is probably one of the most intimate types that we have, especially in a form of self-disclosure. Self-disclosure means sharing personal details about your life, be it thoughts, feelings, memories, or even deeper personal things [8]. This kind of act forms trust and a great bond which is essential to friendships.
  3. Shared Activity – although this theme might not be applicable to everyone, having the same interest or doing shared activities is a bridge in creating relationships. In a study called What Is a Good Friend: A Qualitative Analysis of Desired Friendship Qualities, it was found out that similarity is found out to be the most desirable quality that people tend to look for in friendships [4].

Creating Friendship

Creating a bond between two or more people is always a shared task. We may not be fully aware of how a friendship starts and how love comes within [3] because “Friendships are the family that we choose for ourselves” [4].

  1. Proximity – physical nearness is one of the factors on how people can develop relationships. Distance may affect the ways of creating a bond between two people but these days, social media makes it easy for us to reach out to the people we want to have a relationship with because proximity isn’t about geographical distance, but functional distance. And as we develop a friendship online, it is defined as being in the same place at the same time in a virtual world and just crossing virtual paths.
  2. Familiarity – it is human nature to be attracted to something familiar. By crossing paths with the same people, it is likely for us to be attracted to them as we get used to their presence, as well get to know them. We become comfortable and unexpectedly create a friendship and an unconscious bond. This phenomenon is called “mere-exposure effect” which explains how people like people because they became familiar with them.
  3. Similarity – this is the key. We tend to like others who are like us, who we have similarities with, who share our interests. We look for people who can understand and validate our feelings to help us balance our lives and the likeness of each individual affects the creation of a friendship.
  4. Reciprocity – it is easier to like someone when they feel the same way. This is true not just for romantic relationships, but also about friendships. We can be friendly but we can’t expect people to be equally friendly. Friendship is also built on give and take, and if others don’t reciprocate, it’s likely that the friendship will not work.

Maintaining Friendship

Making friends is different from maintaining them. Maintaining a friendship can be the most difficult endeavor. There are a variety of reasons why friendships tend to break: differences, drifting of interest, or conflict, among others. Like other relationships, efforts should be present to keep and maintain friendships. We listed a few things to help maintain  friendships:

  1. Understand differences – although friendship tends to start because of the similarity that we found with one another, we should understand that we are still wired differently. There are things that we can disagree about, during these times, lend an open ear and try to understand your friend’s perspective.
  2. Give them space – most people will say that to keep friendships, we should stay in contact with them. This is true, however, we should also accept that we can’t always be intimate with our friends to the point that it invades their personal space.
  3. Growth happens – one important thing to keep in mind when maintaining a friendship is that we can’t be the same person we were when we first met. Growth happens and it’s inevitable to stay in the same place. Healthy growing friendships are easier to keep.
  4. Make time – displaying appreciation and gratitude by showing up is always a good way to keep a genuine bond. Knowing that there’s a friend that will show up is always a good feeling.
  5. Be the friend that you want to have – it is always a good way to mirror what we want to see. Give your friend the same treatment that you want to receive. 

Friendships have a huge impact on our lives; the friends we make can influence our choices going forward. Most of us think that friendship just happens, we don’t mind how it started until it’s ending. At that moment, we realized whether the friendship that we had was worth keeping. We realize how grateful we have been for the laughs and cries that we shared, perhaps that is when we also realize that what we shared in that friendship was love.

Love Languages between Friendships

Some might think love languages are limited to romantic bonds, but friendship like any other relationships also requires good knowledge of one another’s love language [7].

  1. Word of Affirmation- A simple “Congratulations!” or “You did great!” from time to time is a good way to help friends that have this love language. It can be a bit unusual to do this if this isn’t your love language but a little affirmation for your friend can be a great way to comfort or help.
  2. Acts of service- giving efforts and helping your friends especially when they are in their down moments is a really great way to show love to your friends that speak this love language.
  3. Receiving gifts- friends with this love language appreciate it when you give extra effort in giving them things that they like especially if it’s something intimate.
  4. Quality time- a simple “let’s grab a drink and catch up” is a great way to keep friends that speak this love language. To see and converse with them for hours makes them happy.
  5. Physical touch- this love language may not apply to everyone but it’s always a good way to ask them if it’s okay to give them a hug!

As we celebrate the season of love, let us also take time to be grateful towards our friends and their constant love! 

 

Pre-Session Activity

  • List 3 things that you love about your friends and tag them!
  • Give your friends unique nicknames and tag them!

Guide Questions:

  1. What characteristics do you consider in finding a friend?
  2. What do you most crave inside a friendship?
  3. What do you think is the most important thing to do to maintain a friendship?

Post-Session Q: 

  1. What do you want to say to your working/failed friendships?

References:

  1. Anderson, A. R., & Fowers, B. J. (2019). An exploratory study of friendship characteristics and their relations with hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(1), 260–280. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407519861152
  2. Birch, J. (2020, October 2). 7 Distinct Greek Words Describe Different Kinds of Love—Which Have You Experienced? Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/greek-words-for-love/
  3. Brannan, D. & Mohr, C. D. (2022). Love, friendship, and social support. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds), Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF publishers. Retrieved from http://noba.to/s54tmp7k
  4. Fagan, A. (2013, January 22). 5 Ways to Maintain Lifelong Friendships. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201301/5-ways-maintain-lifelong-friendships
  5. Friendship (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). (2021, July 30). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/#NatuFrie
  6. J Epidemiol Community Health 2. (2004). Effect of social networks on 10 year survival in very old australians: The australian longitudinal study of aging. Effect of Social Networks on 10 Year Survival in Very Old Australians: The Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging, 577–578.
  7. Noll, M. (2019, December 18). Here’s how understanding the 5 love languages strengthened my friendship. HelloGiggles. https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/friendship-love-languages/
  8. Penn McNair Research Journal. (2011). What Is a Good Friend: A Qualitative Analysis of Desired Friendship Qualities. What Is a Good Friend: A Qualitative Analysis of Desired Friendship Qualities.
  9. Triangular Theory and the 7 Types of Love. (2022, February 8). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/types-of-love-we-experience-2303200#:%7E:text=In%20Dr.,attraction%2C%20romance%2C%20and%20sexual%20consummatio
  10. Villegas, B. M. (2018, December 29). Filipinos as paragons of friendship. INQUIRER.Net. https://opinion.inquirer.net/118491/filipinos-as-paragons-of-friendship

 

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