Friendship is a relationship of affinity, reciprocity, mutual help, respect and trust created between two or more people. According to Winnicott, friendship refers to the notions of intimacy, potential space, recognition of otherness and concern.
Creating a friendship relationship is a bond that is chosen, that’s why it has a different weight from the family. Friends contribute to building our own identity, ideas and values, a sense of belonging and life goals. Also, good friends are an antidote to physical and emotional illnesses. That’s right, friendship is good for your health.
Brazil celebrates Friend’s Day twice a year, on July 20th and April 18th. This fact alone shows us the strength of friendship in a country that cultivates partnership relationships. When studying friendship relationships, scientists have discovered things like the fact that we share more genes with friends than we do with strangers, that we are more attractive when we’re with a group of friends, and that at just 9 months of age we already understand the concept of friendship.
Several studies show that, at least among chimpanzees, baboons, horses, hyenas, elephants, bats and dolphins, animals can form lifelong bonds with individuals outside their family. In Kenya, a friendship between a centuries-old turtle and a young hippopotamus has been documented.
Why form friendship bonds?
What drives us to form bonds of friendship? In all studies on friendship, it was recognized that people who have good friends have better health, less stress and more reproductive success, which is why friendship is an increasingly common feature in the species – this is what scientist Carl points out. Zimmer.
When we create friendship relationships, we develop more empathy, we feel together with each other. We feel threatened when our friends are in danger, so we partner with others of the same species to prosper.
Initiating or caring for these relationships triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces tension levels and has a calming effect. Regardless of gender, having friends is good. People with a wide network of friendships have lower tension, suffer less stress, their defenses are stronger, and they live longer. Friends foster good habits, ward off depression, help to overcome illnesses, and produce satisfaction, pleasure, and happiness.
Several friends x quality friends
In 1993, Oxford University anthropologist Robin Dunbar, studying primate social groups, found that each individual can only maintain up to a maximum of 150 significant relationships at any one time. Even so, most adults only have two best friends.
In the era of facebook friendships, the concept of true friendship relationships, based on frequent sharing of real experiences and sensations, was worn out. Of the 500 facebook friends, we can count on our fingers those who live with our joys and pains, which we help without thinking twice.
Creating real relationships carries more emotional weight than sustaining a variety of superficial relationships. Connections made from partnership and complicity are those that bring us greater strength and comfort in life.
While many people believe that having few friends creates loneliness, loneliness is not about not having friends. Feeling alone is independent of the amount of people around you. This negative feeling has much more to do with not feeling connected, not feeling belonging, not generating real bonds with beings and with the world.
What is a true friendship like
Social practices and the meanings of friendship, just as the meanings of love, are historically constituted and change depending on cultures and historical periods.
Therefore, a friendship considered true can be very different for each person and in each period. However, the vast majority of friendships are based mainly on the feeling of empathy, that is, of putting yourself in the other’s shoes and wishing well. This feeling, often called genuine love, is what makes friendship such a light and positive relationship for everyone’s life.
“Friendship is a reciprocal predisposition that makes two beings equally jealous of each other’s happiness.” – Plato
In this sense, true friendship emerges from the interest in the other’s well-being, from understanding without judgment. With a good friend, you are his best self. Each being strives to grow together, shares experiences, relieves pain, listens. How many people can you feel good about sitting in silence for a few hours? These are probably your best friends.
The Importance of Transforming Toxic Male Friendship
It is very common that male friendship manifests itself from toxic behaviors, such as competitive feelings, verbal aggression and teasing. This need to base any connection on expressions of disinterest worksnou as a defense mechanism for a long time, of the male man who does not admit his emotional needs.
With the deconstruction of sexist ideals, such as that man has to be strong, he cannot show sensitivity, he must always be ahead of decisions, he does not cry, does not suffer, just keep silent, friendships also open up to deeper ties and true.
Toxic male friendship can be turned into true relationships. In partnerships that go beyond games to share pain, feelings and existential issues. Sensitivities and affections also connect us and this is not a female exclusivity.
Don’t make a demand of friendship
One of the main reasons we turn friendships into negative feelings is the demand. Creating expectations generates states of anxiety and anguish that damage the potency of partnership relationships.
When we develop a genuine interest in the well-being of others, we move out of our selfish, self-centered positions. Thus, we find a state of balance even in the face of unexpected situations.
The lightness of friendship relationships comes with this position of freedom to the other, with the acceptance of a fluid life, which changes at all times. While having friends has proven to bring more happiness, it’s important not to expect this to be an obligation. Happiness depends on our mind and how we visualize situations.
Other assumptions like: friends are forever, true friendships stand on their own, friends share everything and never let us down, are also extremely damaging. As with everything in life, people change and circumstances change.
Friendships do not stand alone, you must be present and your dedication to the well-being of others is important. Our disappointments happen because of expectations. Because we are all wrong human beings and this also applies to extremely trusting relationships.
Releasing friendship from these shackles is the best way to cultivate better relationships and truly connect with others. Not just as a form of survival, but as a sincere feeling of joy in the happiness of another.
Creating new connections is critical.
As important as cultivating friends from the past, creating new partnership relationships in the present is critical. You’ve probably already reconnected with a longtime friend. The feeling is as if you have returned to the person you were before, when you met him.
This weight that childhood friends carry, the nostalgia that takes us to another time, is still positive. However, it must be accompanied by relationships that reflect new moments in our lives.
As we are transitory beings, we need to make an effort to create bonds with people from other times of our lives. Form different relationships, without a baggage from the past and with the freedom that new contacts carry.
Creating and cultivating friendships makes us grow more emotionally, brings joy and health. For this, it is necessary to develop care for ourselves and others. As Lenin sings:
“What I am
i am in pair
I didn’t arrive
I didn’t arrive alone”.