Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association can be thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in the fields of sociology, social psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and zoology. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, among which are social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles. Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis: • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
• Sympathy and empathy
• Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one's counterpart • Mutual understanding and compassion
• Trust in one another (able to express feelings - including in relation to the other's actions - without the fear of being judged); able to go to each other for emotional support • Positive reciprocity - a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties
In the sequence of the emotional development of the individual, friendships come after parental bonding and before the pair bonding engaged in at the approach of maturity. In the intervening period between the end of early childhood and the onset of full adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense than relationships later in life. However making friends seems to trouble lots of people; having no friends can be emotionally damaging in some cases. Friendships play a key role in suicidal thoughts of girls.
Friendship and health
The conventional wisdom is that good friendships enhance an...