Friendship is a relationship based on mutual care and concern, but it is also a key component of social health, of how we interact and relate to others. Friendship is the chance for each of us to be part of a community, to form deep bonds.

Friendship can only grow in the context of existing relationships, in family, romantic partnerships, work colleagues and pets.

We may want to have someone to call our ‘best friend’, but there are many kinds of healthy and beneficial friendships. At the heart of most true friendships is a shared effort to maintain the relationship, to nurture and deepen it.

Close friends spend time together in different contexts and play multiple roles, testing each other’s level of trust.

The best friendships are often similar to family or romantic partnerships. These kinds of friends know almost everything about each other, down to the most embarrassing details, and know how to disagree without jeopardising their relationship. The best friends make an effort to affirm each other and maintain mutual trust.
Many such friendships can last a lifetime, but they usually go through different levels of transformation, depending on the personal transformations of those involved. And ending a friendship is not always a bad thing.

Friendship can be a particularly beneficial relationship if it is about influencing each other’s healthy eating or lifestyle choices. A good friendship can also help to alleviate the devastating effects of loneliness and isolation, as well as suffering.

When a friend is going through a difficult time, he or she needs, first and foremost, the presence of someone who genuinely knows and loves them.


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