Because I write erotic romance, I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about love relationships and romantic couplings, but I’ve always found platonic friendship fascinating. Some people have many friends; others have few. Some make friends easily, others don’t.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed about friendship, and its relationship to romance and family:
- Making friends is not unlike making a romantic love connection. Among true friends, there is a chemistry that can’t be forced or created. It’s just there. You like who you like.
- We often have different friends for different functions or aspects of our lives. We have work friends, couple friends, exercise buddies, neighbors. “Best friends” form as a result of the bond between the two people and fill emotional needs for closeness.
- We often cut our friends more slack and tolerate behaviors that would drive us nuts if family did the same thing, however we are far more likely to end a friendship (or allow it to end) than we would sever a family relationship. Irrevocable, permanent family estrangements are much more rare than broken friendships.
- When two friends are especially close, we often say that they are like “brothers” or “sisters” to each other, yet I think the opposite is true. When two adult siblings are exceptionally close, they are more like friends than siblings.
- We don’t get to choose our families. We always choose our friends.
- Although we sometimes discuss issues we’re having with a friend with a family member, it’s our friends we turn to and who support us when we’re having trouble with family.
- Having one’s spouse being a best friend strengthens the relationship, but having friends outside of marriage makes our lives richer also.
- People often “stay put” and refuse to move for a better opportunity because they don’t want to leave family, but they rarely make that same decision for friends. We leave friends all the time.
- Friendships initiate around shared interests or experiences, but to have a deep, emotionally rewarding friendship, you need that interpersonal chemistry.