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What does it mean to be a friend?

Friendship is a close platonic relationship between people, built on mutual sympathy, common interests, mutual assistance. Read more about the psychology of friendship, the image of a true friend, its differences from a friend and acquaintance, read on.

Friendship Psychology

The basis of friendship, as a rule, the following components:

  • common ideological views;
  • similarity of hobbies;
  • confidence;
  • empathy;
  • willingness to selflessly help;
  • sincerity;
  • the exchange of information, benefits, emotions, etc .;
  • understanding;
  • frankness.

Of course, these elements in full force are present only in isolated friendships. In most cases, people remain with friends, yet quite closed in especially important, perhaps even painful issues for them. It is not always possible to talk about selflessness in friendship, although there is still mutual assistance as such.

With regard to sexual connotations, then, according to some experts, friendship does not imply an intimate relationship. If it does happen,it is worth talking in this case already about any kind of love relationship. However, according to a different point of view, friendship may well include erotic notes. This may be, for example, characteristic of relationships of close people at the level of intimate reciprocity. This happens when a man and a woman consider each other quite attractive for sexual intercourse, but at the same time they don’t want to move from friendship to romance.

Friendship roles


In this case, the friendship gets a pronounced rational color. By highlighting more important values ​​for himself (for example, building a career), a person places quite specific “obligations” on friendship, allowing him to get more pleasure from life. A person tends to spend time convenient with his friends personally and in the way he likes it. The problems of friends in their lives, the very deep aspect of friendship remains far in the background.


It is characteristic of those societies in which there is an identification of kinship with friendly relations. That is, the presence of blood kinship or, for example, marital relations, as if automatically implies friendship between people.On the other hand, in practice, a merger is far from being always encountered - even being relatives in any way, people can negatively relate to each other, and therefore there can be no talk of friendship in the best sense of the word.


In this light, friendship appears when different social roles have a direct impact on people's friendships. A vivid example is the friendship between colleagues or, especially, a boss and a subordinate, who, moreover, are also spouses. In this case, it is always very difficult to predict what kind of relationship (official, love or friendly) will prevail.


Friendship becomes an alternative to any other relationship, most often - a romantic one. But it is also not uncommon when, with the help of friendship, a person tries to compensate for warm and deep family relationships (for example, if a person has a weak relationship with relatives or he does not have them at all).

Friend, friend and acquaintance

Based on the definition of friendship, its psychology, the constituent elements, it is possible to determine what it means to be a friend. So, friend:

  • knows a lot about you (about family, problems, interests, tastes, etc.);
  • ready to help without demanding anything in return;
  • sincerely empathizes with everything that is happening to you (both good and bad);
  • shares (at least partially) your views on life;
  • understands you, the motives of your actions, your manner of expression, your humor, and so on.

Unlike a friend, a friend is a more distant person in all respects. You can be linked by a community of interests (for example, going to the gym), joint rest (going to the movies on Fridays), periodic non-binding communication on abstract topics, but no more.

A friend is a completely alien person whom you know only superficially, and in most cases from reviews, stories about him of your mutual friends. This may be a neighbor on the street or a house that you have come across a couple of times as part of a social relationship. Or, for example, a colleague from a neighboring department, with whom you occasionally meet and communicate in the smoking room of an office building.


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