When most people hear the word “love,” they may instantly think of romantic relationships. However, there can be many types of love, and perhaps one of the most overlooked may be philia, which generally refers to love between friends. This type of love can be vital, even if you’re in a happy romantic relationship. Different types of love can fulfill different needs in your life. A healthy friendship generally involves empathy, compassion, honesty, and independence. For professional help with challenges regarding friendships and relationships, consider scheduling an in-person or online session with a licensed therapist.
What Is Philia?
Types Of Friendships
According to Aristotle, there may be three main types of friendships. These types are believed to have been established based on the potential benefits of the relationship.
Useful friendships: This can refer to being friends with someone because of the potential for the friendship to lead to something that you desire, such as a job, business contact, or another benefit.
Pleasurable friendships: This type of friendship is normally based on simple pleasure and enjoyment. This could include hanging out and talking with your friends or going out for drinks, for example.
Virtuous friendships: This may refer to a type of friendship based on true emotional intimacy and not what one person may be getting out of the relationship. It is usually marked by a deeper connection and regard for the other person’s well-being. This type of friendship tends to be more likely to involve philia than the other types.
Tips For Building Healthy Friendships
Healthy friendships can be an important part of life, and philia can be beneficial for your mental health. Even if you’re in a fulfilling romantic relationship, it can still be vital to have friendships, as it’s generally unrealistic and unhealthy to expect your partner to satisfy all your needs. As a lighthearted example, if you love going shopping, but your significant other doesn’t, then this may be a good opportunity for you to spend some quality time with friends who also enjoy this activity.
Real friends can be valuable because they typically provide you with a safe place to be yourself. Genuine, caring friends will not usually judge you or look down on you for your imperfections, and they may not be afraid to call you out on bad behavior either. However, this type of friendship, which likely involves philia, isn’t always easy to find.
Consider these strategies for building a healthy friendship:
Find A Healthy Balance
It’s generally not a healthy relationship if one person is always gaining from the relationship and the other person is constantly giving. Often, people who have low self-esteem find themselves in relationships where they can be seen as doormats. They may constantly do things for the other person without getting much in return. In general, this is not a healthy form of friendship. It can be crucial to find a healthy balance between give and take so that both friends have opportunities to benefit and help each other.
Exercise Empathy And Compassion
Compassion can be an important part of friendship. A good friend is usually someone who will stay alongside you when you’re going through a difficult time. Even if they don’t understand exactly what you’re going through, they will normally try to understand it the best they can. When they don’t know exactly what to do to make the situation better, they may still be there for you in any way they can, even if it means just listening. Friends may work to support each other and tend to be there for one another, even when others aren’t. It can be helpful to try your best to exercise these qualities within your friendships.
Real friends don’t usually just tell each other what they think the other person wants to hear. Instead, they may work to be open and honest with each other, even when it’s challenging. They may know that in the long run, the truth can be more important than just trying to keep the other person happy for the moment.
Just because you are good friends—or even best friends—with a person, that does not necessarily mean that you need to solely rely on them or spend all your time with them. Just as with romantic relationships, independence can be an important part of friendships. Acting in a way that could be perceived as clingy or smothering may seem overwhelming to friends. It can be helpful to ensure you’re spending time both together and apart.
Can Philia Turn Into Eros?
What is an example of a philia?
Philia is a word with Greek, not Latin etymology that refers to brotherly love in modern English. Examples of philia include the love you might tell with an actual sibling or a dear friend. It’s similar to platonic love in that it doesn’t have a romantic or sexual element, but it’s typically even stronger, deeper, and more emotionally intimate than platonic connections.
What is the purpose of philia?
Philia is the notion of love that characterizes very close bonds between humans that are not romantic or sexual. Philia can be a connection point for siblings with a close relationship, or it can characterize an intimate bond that close friends have built over the course of years.
How do you show philia love?
There are lots of different ways a good person may demonstrate forms of philia love to a sibling or friend. Although people typically associate the five love languages with romantic love, they can apply to all types of relationships—including those characterized by philia.
So if your friend or sibling appreciates words of affirmation, you could say or write about what this relationship means to you and your life. If they prefer quality time above other forms of love, you could make an effort to plan and engage in special one-on-one activities, etc.
Does philia mean love of wisdom?
No; the meaning of philia is brotherly love, a kind of deep and intimate love have between siblings or very close friends without concern for or the existence of a romantic component. Philosophia is the Greek term for the love of wisdom.
Is philia the highest form of love?
In the Christian tradition, agape is the highest form of love, not philia. However, an individual can decide for themselves what the highest form of love is in their own lives. For someone with a very deep and emotionally intimate connection with a sibling or friend, for example, philia (true friendship) may be the highest level of love to them. For another, self-love could be the highest form of love in their life.
Is philia a friendly type of love?
Yes. The nature of philia is “brotherly love,” which can be with siblings or very close friends. It’s similar to platonic love in that there’s no romantic or sexual component, but it tends to be even deeper and more emotionally intimate. Aristotle speaks about such friendly types of love in his well-known work, Nicomachean Ethics.
Why is philia love important?
Philia love can represent an important source of care, affection, belonging, and support in a person’s life. Research suggests that all humans need loving connection and support in order to maintain good health, so being seen, understood, and cared for by someone you have philia love with can be a powerful source of this.
How is philia love different from agape love?
Agape can be defined as unconditional love, and philia refers to brotherly love. In practice, it’s possible for a connection characterized by philia—such as a deep, emotional connection between siblings or friends or even for oneself—to also be characterized by agape.
What is the difference between storge love and philia love?
Storge refers to familial love, or the type of affection and care that can characterize family connections like those between parents and children. Philia refers to brotherly love, which is a deep emotional connection that can exist between siblings but can also be with close friends. It’s possible to feel both storge and philia for a sibling you’re especially close to, or for a friend who is part of your chosen family.
Can philia turn to eros?
Philia can refer to a deep, emotional connection and affection between two close friends. Eros refers to love in the form of sexual desire or intimacy. Of course, it is possible for philia to turn to eros for someone who experiences sexual desire, though there are plenty of relationships characterized by philia that never develop this component.
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