“Friendship” conjures up memories of childhood friends whom we could depend upon and to whom we could tell our secrets. However, aside from this stereotypical definition of friendship, what other types of friendship are there and why are they important?
The wounds of a friend are given in good faith, but the kisses of a hater are false Proverbs 27; 6
Many friendships are formed during academia, and are based on shared interests and the quest for knowledge. This scenario might materialise between two university students that are part of a student union, or a past student exchanging the occasional email with an old lecturer. This friendship is often highly professional and restrained with strict social boundaries that make it appropriate. However, the level of mutual respect and vested interest in the other's progress, makes this exchange an exciting and rewarding one. It is all too easy to lose friendships at the end of an academic course, but these friendships are unique. A friendship routed in a shared experience and mutual passion is worth retaining.
We may view some friends as mentors because they are religious leaders who help to guide us. This friendship can have an unequal power divide. Therefore it is important that we approach this friendship with self-awareness, with firm autonomy for our thoughts and actions. On the whole, this type of friendship is nurturing and makes us feel safe, and strong in our convictions. This friendship might teach us about our chosen religious path as well as being introduced to new friends with shared beliefs. It is a unifying experience to discover spiritual friends with whom we share beliefs or lifestyles choices. People find this friendship helpful because it is often easier to have friendships with those who share the same beliefs as yourself to reduce conflict. However, a diverse friendship circle can often be informative and interesting as long as there is open-mindedness and mutual respect for each other’s lifestyle choices or religious views.
Most of us who work with others have a friendship that is only practised within working hours. This friendship is often mutually beneficial and we look forward to seeing the other person each day at work. It is also likely that this friendship is kept separate from our 'core' friends with whom we choose to spend our free-time. Friendships at work help both people to get through the day but often lack substance because the only shared interest maybe the company for whom they both work. Without a work friend, the day may drag and we wish to share our news with them. However, a change of job may shake this fragile friendship which simply survives because we see each other regularly. It is important not to take this friendship for granted. Remember how much you rely on each other daily to make work tolerable and perhaps, invite this work friend out socially to galvanise your friendship.
These are our most meaningful friendships. We may have had these significant friendships since childhood or they may be fairly recent. These intense friendships are very important to us: often viewing our core friends as family members. They have stayed with us through our worst times and know our strengths and weaknesses better than ourselves. We listen to their advice because they know us best. We also tell them our secrets because we can trust them. These friendships are incredibly important to us and we feel that they will last a lifetime. Sometimes we neglect them on occasion because we think they will always be around. Do not neglect such friendships be supportive, communicative and openly expressive to such friends by telling them how valuable they are.
A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity Proverbs 17:17
All friendships are important because they fulfil us in different ways. However, every type of friendship needs loyalty and commitment. All friendships will have their flaws, but ultimately it is worth persevering. with meaningful friendships because they provide us with emotional well-being and companionship.