August 5, 2008

FRIENDSHIP

Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more beings. This article focuses on the notion specific to interpersonal relationships. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them. Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

Super Friends. Friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense than relationships later in life.
Friendship is considered one of the central human experiences, and has been sanctified by all major religions. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Babylonian poem that is among the earliest known literary works in history, chronicles in great depth the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The Greco-Roman had, as a paramount example, the friendship of Orestes and Pylades. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism. A good example for this is Schiller's Die Bürgschaft. The Christian Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."(John 15:13).
In philosophy,
Aristotle is known for his discussion (in the Nicomachean Ethics) of philia, which is usually (somewhat misleadingly) translated as "friendship," and certainly includes friendship, though is a much broader concept.
Cultural variations: (stub-section) A group of friends consists of two or more people who are in a mutually pleasing relationship engendering a sentiment of camaraderie, exclusivity, and mutual trust. There are varying degrees of "closeness" between friends. Hence, some people choose to differentiate and categorize friendships based on this sentiment.

Greece
In
Ancient Greece, in Plato's Symposium, a character named Pausanius asserts: "the interests of rulers require that their subjects should be poor in spirit, and that there should be no strong bond of friendship or society among them, which love, above all other motives, is likely to inspire, as our Athenian tyrants learned by experience; for the love of Aristogeiton and the constancy of Harmodius had a strength which undid their power." (Symposium; 182c). The overall tone of The Symposium stresses the importance of asceticism and spiritual love over lust. Critics have long had difficulty interpreting the various opinions outlined in The Symposium, and generally agree that Plato's view is prescriptive rather than descriptive. Nevertheless, the speech of Pausanius provides evidence for pederasty in 5th century Athens.
For Aristotle's position, see
Philia.

Rome
During the time of the
Roman Empire, Cicero had his own beliefs on friendship. Cicero believed that in order to have a true friendship with someone there must be all honesty and truth. If there isn’t, then this isn’t a true friendship. In that case, friends must be one hundred percent honest with each other and put one hundred percent of their trust in the other person. Cicero also believed that for people to be friends with another person, they must do things without the expectation that their friend will have to repay them. He also believes that if a friend is about to do something wrong, and something that goes against your morals, you shouldn’t compromise your morals. You must explain why what they are going to do is wrong, and help them to see what the right thing to do is, because Cicero believes that ignorance is the cause of evil. Finally the last thing that Cicero believed was that the reason that a friendship comes to an end is because one person in that friendship has become bad. (On Friendship, Cicero)

Russia
The relationship is constructed differently in different cultures. In
Russia, for example, one typically accords very few people the status of "friend". These friendships however make up in intensity what they lack in number. Friends are entitled to call each other by their first names alone, and to use diminutives. A norm of polite behaviour is addressing "acquaintances" by full first name plus patronymic. These could include relationships which elsewhere would be qualified as real friendships, such as workplace relationships of long standing, neighbors with whom one shares an occasional meal and visit, and so on. Physical contact between friends is expected, and friends, whether or not of the same sex, will embrace, sometimes kiss and walk in public with their arms around each other, or arm-in-arm, or hand-in-hand.
According to Oleg Kharkhordin in a paper on the politics of friendship, in Soviet society, friendships were "a suspect value for the Stalinist regime" in that they presented a stronger allegiance that could stand in possible opposition to allegiance to the
Communist party. "By definition, a friend was an individual who would not let you down even under direct menace to him- or herself; a person to whom one could securely entrust one's controversial thoughts since he or she would never betray them, even under pressure. Friendship thus in a sense became an ultimate value produced in resistance struggles in the Soviet Union".

Asia
In the
Middle East and Central Asia male friendships, while less restricted than in Russia, tend also to be reserved and respectable in nature.

Modern west
In the Western world, intimate physical contact has been sexualized in the public mind over the last one hundred years and is considered almost taboo in friendship, especially between two males. However, stylized hugging or kissing may be considered acceptable, depending on the context (see, for example, the kiss the tramp gives the kid in
The Kid). In Spain and other Mediterranean countries men may embrace each other in public and kiss each other on the cheek. This is not limited solely to older generations but rather is present throughout all generations. In young children throughout the modern western world, friendship, usually of a homosocial nature, typically exhibits elements of a closeness and intimacy suppressed later in life in order to conform to societal standards.


Types of friendship
Acquaintance
Romantic friendship
Soulmate
Pen pal
Internet friendship
Comrade
Friends with benefits
Boston marriage
Blood brotherhood
Companionate love
Intimate relationship
Love
Platonic love
Romantic love
Open relationship
Roommate
Spiritual

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