Friendship Answers

What does friendship really mean?

Friendship is an interesting relationship, and it flows into so many other relationships. When a child is born, the purest of relationships and friendship is between parent and child, even on some level. That quickly replaces parent and child, and if there’s too much friendship in between, the parenting suffers! Young children under five love to play together even if they are not engaging verbally, and friendship is reflected in their similar play styles and temperaments. As children age out of early childhood into grade school, many roles get formed, including the leader, follower, social, quiet, and everything in between! Middle school and high school friendships become slightly more complicated with socio-cultural and economic norms. In reality, boys have a bit more ease practicing forgiveness and moving on from the conflict that can arise from friendships, whereas girls can have a bit harder time doing this. As gender has majorly changed within the last few years, it will be interesting to see how gender roles and changes affect friendships.Friendship means different things to different people. Ideally, the very best friendship people create is with themselves. What does that mean exactly? It means that a person can genuinely enjoy their own company, whether it’s going on a hike, sitting in a restaurant, or watching a film. They engage their own thinking, feelings, creativity, and interactions as they enjoy life’s activities. Becoming engrossed in cooking, gardening, or reading allows the brain to escape and develop that inner friendship and relationship so key to joy.More traditionally speaking, friendships are extremely important throughout life. Whenever long-standing friendships are dating all the way back to early grade school, those relationships can be very supportive, binding, and help with esteem and identity. Friendships mean having people to enjoy life’s adventures with and having someone to talk to you in a time of joy or crisis. Friends CAN form in every stage of life, and it is never too late to develop connections. Friendships can make a commitment, and they can take some responsibility and ensure they continue, especially as people age into adulthood and life gets even busier. It’s important to understand what friendship means to each person to come together with similar expectations. And as people grow and change, it is natural for some friendships to fade and some that build anew.
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 05/17/2021

Why friendship breakups hurt?

Friendships can be such a beautiful companionship to take part in.  However, when friendships break up, it can be extremely hurtful.  One reason friendship breakups can be so hurtful is that sometimes they happen out of nowhere.  When someone is blindsided by their friendship, ending that can be hurtful and leads to a confusing lack of closure.  A lack of closure can be so confusing to go through and leave someone with unanswered questions.  These unanswered questions can ruminate over time if they continue not to have closure, leading to further hurt and pain.  When we experience a breakup in a friendship, it is important to allow ourselves to go through the grieving process.  However, if there is a lack of closure, it cannot be easy to get to a place of acceptance.  On that same note, it can be difficult to stop thinking of the friendship, keeping someone in the thick of their grief.  As with the typical grieving process, friendship breakups can feel somewhat hopeless at times.  The weight of the emotions can lead someone to feel somewhat hopeless and like they will never heal from the breakup.  It can also feel like other people do not truly understand what you are going through as you go through.  All of this combined can add to how heavy and difficult coping with a friendship breakup can be.  Our friendships typically involve a lot of time, energy, and emotion to explain why they are so important to us.  Therefore, when a friendship ends, it can be crushing in the sense that all of that time, energy, and emotion you put into the friendship are over.  Some people might even feel regret for how much they put into the friendship and feel like all of that was wasted.  That can be really hurtful and hard to accept, but if you can get to a place of acceptance, you can hopefully think fondly about the good memories that you did have with your friend.  On top of that, it can feel even more healing if you can take away valuable lessons from the friendship so you do not feel like you will repeat the same type of friendship.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 05/14/2021

How friendship changes over time

Friendship evolves depending on the connection you establish and maintain with the people you identify as your friends.  Also, something to consider is the stage of life you are in and the stage of life for the other person(s).  Newer/recently began friendships usually entail more quality time spent together because there is a learning and growing process.  You are gathering information about one another and determining how you want to use this information to establish the type of friendship that will be maintained.  Usually, for those that have many common qualities and interests, there is a likelihood that the relationship will last longer.  Versus relationships where there is minimal common ground may not have the same longevity.  The age at which the friendship is established may have an impact on the evolution of friendship.  Friendships you established at a younger age may change because our brains develop over time, and the things that peaked our interests in connecting may change. That is not to say that the friendship will not withstand the test of time, but how you view that friendship may alter.  Friends that you had in grade school will always be your friends from that time, and you may seem that person from time to time, but perhaps the time spent with one another will change.  People advance in their life stages differently than others, which changes the quality of your friendships over time.  For some, their priorities will change to spend less time with friends and more time on other life goals, like getting married, starting/raising a family, and/or growing in their careers.  That time you spend on your interpersonal goals will pull away from the time you usually spend with your friends.  This does not necessarily mean that the quality of the actual friendship will be compromised, but more just the quantity of time spent with your friends will change.  At the end of the day, and friendship you desire to keep will require work and effort to maintain the friendship.  It will absolutely change, but how the friendship changes impact the willingness to contribute to the friendship by yourself and the other parties involved. 
Answered on 05/14/2021

Can friendship turn into love?

Most relationships encompass some form of love within the dynamics.  The extent and depth of what that love is between the individuals involved can vary.  This may be important when the relationship evolves, specifically if the love develops romantic or platonic.  You can develop feelings of love for someone in a platonic way, meaning there is not necessarily a physical attraction but a love for the person as a whole.  When the love develops from a romantic perspective, this typically indicates some form of physical attraction associated with the love you have for this person.  Friendships turn into platonic love when the bond/connection between the individuals becomes stronger.  This type of connection is typically developed through quality time spent together; within that quality time, you learn more about each other and come to appreciate various aspects of one another.  At some point, the appreciation develops into admiration, which contributes to that feeling of love for one another.  Some people refer to this type of love as wholesome or non-romantic.  A friendship that turns into romantic love can be a bit different; usually, there was some form of physical attraction at the beginning of the friendship (although this is not necessarily always the case).  Over time the individuals involved will build a strong bond for one another, typically through quality time.  At some point, the connection will develop into feelings of admiration into love; but with a desire to be physically intimate with one another.  Again, this is not always the case as some people develop romantic feelings for someone but perhaps do not engage in sexual activities.  But traditionally, speaking, there is some form of physical attraction that indicates some form of romantic love. Something to also consider when it comes to friendships turning into love, in particular with romantic love, is whether or not the feelings are being reciprocated.  One person will develop a sense of romantic love in some instances, but the other person may not necessarily have the same feelings.  This is where communication of feelings is important, to establish a sense of boundaries within that friendship. 
Answered on 05/12/2021

Which friendships are the most valuable?

To a certain degree, time can make a difference as to what friendships are the most valuable.  Time does not necessarily mean in length, but more the quality of time you have established the connection within that friendship.  A friendship that has a solid foundation is not effortless; it requires work and commitment.  But should you decide to put in that time and effort, you will find these friendships the most valuable.  But what is it about time and effort to make the relationship worth more than other friendships? The time spent establishing a connection with your friend holds value because of those memories attached to the friendship.  The adventures you make with that person will last a lifetime and will always be cherished, even when you are away from that friend.  Taking risks and exploring life with another person is a method in which you feel connected with someone; these are the types of things that help you build a connection like no other.  These will be the moments that you look back on with genuine happiness; priceless memories are to be cherished. It is also those times of going through hardship together that make the relationship valuable.  Having that type of friendship where you know that the person will be there for you because you have already gone through some of the toughest moments is of great value.  Being able to console someone and be vulnerable with them, when maybe you would not want others to see you in this fashion; having a person you can do this is meaningful.  There is a sort of comfort within that friendship, a feeling of safety associated with this person.  As mentioned previously, putting in the effort to establish and maintain friends will be very important when considering the value of such friendship.  There will be times when putting in the effort may be more challenging and perhaps not necessarily a priority, and this is okay, but when you look at the big picture, the effort needs to be there, nonetheless.  If you are willing to put in the effort, and so is the other person, then there is something to be said about the quality of that relationship. 
Answered on 05/11/2021

Which friendship describes you?

This is a useful question because so many times, friendships are confused based on their level. Let’s look at the various levels of friendships. Levels of friendships are simply the depth in which the two people connect versus kinds of friendships which could be another article! The first level of friendship would be two strangers meeting. Connections have to begin somewhere, and this is a great place. Sometimes people make that immediate connection that this person can either become an eventual close friend or not a friend at all. The next level of friendship is the ever so confusing acquaintance. While this friend has a place in life, it can also cause issues when deciding between who to invite to a wedding or an event or what to share with this person. Boundaries are definitely useful with this kind of friend until a stronger bond has been formed. The next level is a casual friend. This friend might be considered a ‘sometimes’ friend having something in common with them like a book club or hiking and not necessarily a person everything is shared with. Then the next level is close friends, where many people fall once people meet strong connections in high school, college, sometimes the workplace, and early adulthood. Close friends offer up a strong connection and typically have a lot in common. They tend to be trusted with pretty intimate information though not necessarily considered a best friend. This could be because the person already has a best friend, or several people are trusted. And lastly, the best friend is a person who has the most intimate knowledge and is a consistent provider of compassion, care, listening, and friendship. In thinking about which friendship describes you, it is useful to think about your kind of friend to the people you care for and are around and what kind of friends they might be towards you. It’s not necessarily a limiting or close-minded practice to define and describe your friendships. In fact, this might actually help and address problems in the future for unrealistic expectations. Many people are moving towards having a small circle of close friends followed by appropriate socialization with casual friends and acquaintances. The energy and focus it takes to carry on many more close friends than two or three can work to some people, so it depends on how many people you need and would like in your life and how much effort you want to use to keep those friendships close. There is no marker for how often people have to see each other to be considered the closest of friends. The beauty of friendship is we can create it the way we want it to be for ourselves as long as both people are on the same page!
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 05/05/2021

Where does friendship begin?

Hi, there! Thank you for reaching out to us at BetterHelp. My name is Stacey Shine, and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I read over the question you submitted and am hopeful that I can provide an answer and some clarity for you. You asked the question of where does friendship start? I think this is a really good question that often time does not get answered and can lead to different problems socially. First, I think that friendship can start naturally and organically. It could be as simple as meeting someone at a supermarket and bonding over a shared interest in a certain food. You start talking, and a friendship is formed with no effort. This platonic friendship can grow and develop, but that takes some effort by one or both parties to initiate that bond going from a conversation with a stranger to building it into something such as friendship.  Secondly, I think that friendship can happen in a more arranged type of setting. You could have a friend invite you to meet someone new to you but familiar to them. You may have common interests and be in common social circles. This will allow time together and allow you to spend time together and invest more time into individually developing a friendship.  Thirdly, I think that friendship can happen without physical space involved. You can develop friendships even in virtual settings. It typically happens with that common bond or interest. It allows you to talk and begin to develop platonic emotions for someone. You do not necessarily have to see them and be in the same geographic location to develop and grow. I think that the concept of friendship has changed quite drastically over the last ten years. Virtual spaces allow friendships to grow deeper and develop initially without ever physically seeing the other person in the same space. I hope this was a helpful way to look at friendship. If you have any issues developing new friendships, I will encourage you to sign up with us at Better Help and work on some of those skills. I wish you the best of luck!
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Will dating ruin a friendship?

This can be difficult to answer, and it depends solely on the two individuals involved in the friendship and the new relationship. This triangle can also become quite messy, or it has the possibility of turning out fine. It is important to go into the question without bias or judgement. It can ultimately go both ways. Some individuals do well with dating and having friends. However, the opposite can be true as well. Some individuals do not do well with dating, and it can absolutely ruin a friendship. For example, if the individual that someone is dating tends to exhibit gaslighting behaviors of narcissistic behaviors, friends of the individual in the relationship quickly pick up on the relationship's red flags. Once friends pick out or see red flags in their friend’s relationship, they usually tell their friend how they feel. In most cases, if their friend does not respond, they are aware of the same concerns, problems, and issues about their new partner. Friends can sometimes lose touch and or lose their friendship because they cannot see eye to eye on their friend's new partner. However, the situation could also play out in reverse where the new partner sees the same gaslighting behaviors of narcissistic behaviors in the friend of their partner. The partner could discuss his or her issues, concerns, and problems about seeing red flags about their partner's friend, which could again go unnoticed by the partner, which could, in turn, cause problems in the relationship. Therefore, it truly depends on the specific situation at hand in determining if dating will truly ruin a friendship. Many factors must be looked at and researched because they can be unique. Each situation is processed thoroughly before a final answer or decision on whether dating can ruin a friendship. Again, this is not a yes or no answer; this question is based solely on i. It depends on the situation after all the information is gathered and processed without judgment, bias, or making anyone feel ridiculed.
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Will dating a friend ruin a friendship?

Relationships can be very tricky. It is difficult to determine a solid foundation or complete understanding of a relationship because all relationships look different. There is absolutely not a one size fits all approach to what a relationship should look like. Therefore, information needs to be thoroughly gathered and processed for certain topics, such as whether dating a friend will ruin a friendship. This question can be tricky. Therefore, it can be answered with no definitive yes or no. I think the question of whether dating a friend ruins a friendship can be answered with a straight maybe, or it depends. It cannot be given an absolute yes or no because it depends very heavily on who the two individuals are in the relationship, along with who the two individuals that are currently in the relationship, it depends on their trust or lack of communication or lack of, their boundaries or lack of and their personal needs or lack of. Basically, dating a friend can and cannot ruin a relationship, so it is based on the active individuals in the relationship. The two individuals in the relationship need to be aware of the dynamics that can change if he or she decides to date. The dynamic of the group can change for better or worse, which depends heavily on the couple and how the other group members react. Regardless of whether the change is good or bad, there will definitely be a change in the group's structure. The group of friends or lack thereof can be completely changed when two group members start dating exclusively.  When dating a friend, it can absolutely be uncommented when you first start getting serious about each other because you will now be openly showing more affection for each other whi, which individuals. At times, it can make some adjustments, or it can be absolutely natural. Last but certainly not least, if the new relationship does not work out, it can be awkward but not a total disaster if the two individuals decide to remain friends, if the relationship does not work. 
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Why childhood friends are so special?

From the moment a baby is born into this world, their attempts to connect are apparent through their parents and other caregivers. There is a strict reliance that comes with this relationship that is different than friendships. As babies grow into toddlers, their ability to be curious and engage through parallel play with others happens. This kind of play is the first attempt to connect socially as independents, watching each other play, possibly saying a word here or there, and enjoying each other’s company. It is fascinating to watch young children watch and observe each other with openness and non-judgment. Perhaps one of the most formative years of a person’s life can be entering school. Kindergarten is the first larger experience of organized groups of children for learning, instruction, and play. Once in a while, hearing the stories of those who still have their friends from Kindergarten or grade school is inspiring and quite intriguing to experience. These friendships are like no other, and here’s why. Playgrounds, play dates, and beyond. So, what makes these friendships special? For one, many childhood friends find their life-long friends in this way. Commonalities of school and where they live to bring them together. In childhood, it matters very little where you come from culturally and socioeconomically, so when it is observed how well children play together, they play together out of genuine curiosity, acceptance, openness, and natural establishment of universal ‘rules of play. As a former educator of preschool and Kindergarten, another way these friendships are so special is the level of flexibility and forgiveness that is expressed repeatedly as they learn how to work and play together. These childhood friends are also special because these are the building blocks of how adults get along with others in the world, not just friends, but everyone. So, imagine a scenario where a child does not connect well or have many friends throughout school, and you will see a person who is either very self-reliant and perhaps more solitary than others, or someone who possibly feels rejected, left out, or ignored or resentful. An adult does not need childhood friends to succeed, but children who can form these bonds can grow in esteem, communication skills, cooperativeness, and flexibility. An adult simply observing childhood play to feel inspired and gives hope to some trying to make connections in adulthood.
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

What to do when childhood friendships end?

            Childhood friendships are such a unique, fun part of life.  In the childhood stage of life, we have so much more time to spend time with friends, and the things that make us happy are so much simpler than what makes us happy in adulthood.    We even spend most of our awake hours around our childhood friends for several years during the school-age years of life.  It can be difficult, though, to leave some friendships behind and to move forward.             An important step after a friendship ends is to make sure you have some constructive takeaways.  Focusing on why the friendship ended and then making sure you learn from the friendship will be important to feel like you are moving forward in a new way. Some people struggle to accept that the friendship has ended but focusing on what you have learned can help you accept that it needs to be left behind.  A friendship ending is somewhat of a grieving process, and when you are going through grief, the goal is to accept what you have lost.              As you try to move forward, it can be helpful to get to a place of forgiveness rather than holding on to anger.  Some friendships end because of hurtful mistakes, but if you can get to a place of forgiveness, you can heal so much faster.  As you try to get to a place of forgiveness, think about how life change stages can help.  When we are children, we might have certain things in common that we grow out of.  In that way, it does not have to be anything personal but rather just a recognition that life stages have changed between you and your friend.              Friendships ending is never fun but trying to make the ending constructive can be a more peaceful approach that helps you move towards new friendships.  Try to accept the happy memories that you made with that friend.  You can even consider what qualities you liked and did not like about the friend so that you can use that information for future connections you make with friends.   
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

What to do when childhood friends grow apart?

The adage says, "People enter our lives for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime." Many times, the childhood friend comes for a reason or a season. Childhood friends growing apart can be very painful, but it is a natural part of life. However, there are times when the childhood friend is supposed to be around for a lifetime. Each friendship has its path, and determining which direction your friendship goes can decide what to do when the friendship drifts apart. To deal with drifting apart from your childhood friend, you can check in with the friend to see if the friendship is worth saving, accept the new associate status, and remember when one door closes, another opens. CHECK-IN & CHECK STATUS  Sometimes you and your friend are not on the same page. You may feel you two are drifting apart, but they think the friendship is just perfect. It would be best to communicate with your friend about your concerns and how much the friendship means to you. Then, allow the friend to tell you their perspective of the relationship. If you agree that you have let the friendship get away from you, you both have to put in the effort and work to get the friendship back on track. If your friend is unwilling to do the work, you must accept that the friendship will continue to go in the other direction. If you are a true friend, you will allow your former friend to do what is best for them and love them from afar.  FRIEND TO ASSOCIATE Just because the friendship has changed or ended does not mean you two must be excluded from each other’s life. Many times, an associate relationship can be just as rewarding and have less pressure. An associate is someone fun to hang out with on occasion, but they are not checking for you or you for them. You see each other when convenient, and there are no expectations for one another to be there during the good times or the bad times. This new level of friendship can give both of you what you need. Some people make your life better by just being a part of it by any means possible.  OPEN DOOR FOR NEW FRIENDSHIPS When someone decides to walk out of your life, then you should let them. They are the ones losing something special, not you. Once a slot in life has been vacated, it opens the door for new people to fill that vacancy. There are people out there that have dreamed of having a friend like you but could never get close because that other person was in the way. Do not allow fear to cause you to avoid making new friends. The next friend that comes into your life might be there for a lifetime. 
(LPC, LMHC, NCC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

How friendship works

Healthy friendships can only work if two people, or more, are willing to communicate and spend quality time with each other. The most important part of any healthy friendship or relationship is the ability to talk and listen to one another. Talking and listening helps people share their common interests, share their feelings, learn to listen, and know they are important in someone else’s life. For any healthy friendship to work, there also needs to be mutual trust and respect. This includes each individual respecting the other for who they are. It also means disagreeing while knowing they can talk about how they feel and work things out. People also should respect and trust themselves and their feelings so they can set boundaries and feel comfortable. We aren’t designed to go through life alone but to be connected in healthy relationships. The hard work of friendship includes being available, even when it’s inconvenient. It means moving beyond the surface to real conversations and being willing to work at forgiveness and restoration when conflict inevitably arises. Other factors that determine if a friendship or relationship will work include the following: The person feels good about themselves when they are with their friend Both parties can compromise - each person has to give up part of what he wants so she together can avoid conflict, accomplish things, and both feel satisfied Both feel safe around each other Both want to spend time together Both have common interests and values If you and your friend have trust, equality, compassion, honesty, and independence, you already have the foundation of a strong and healthy friendship to work. Even though it can be hard to recognize when a friendship is weak in some areas, it is always possible to improve yourself and your relationship with a friend. It’s worthwhile to strengthen the friendships in your life. There’s no relationship without bumps. However, learning how to be a good friend and understanding if it’s reciprocated will ensure a healthy and strong friendship.
(LMHC, CSAYC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

Why friendship is important in a relationship?

In a research study by The National Bureau of Economic Research, it was found that “well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend.” Friendship matters! Although your significant other does not necessarily need to be your “best friend,” it still is critical that they are a close companion. Findings also suggest a close friendship is linked with both a sexually and emotionally satisfying relationship. Finding a partner who was first and foremost a friend was a good predictor of the long-term success of a relationship. Friendship is the first thing you need and is very important when it comes to developing a relationship. Being friends allows you to get to know the person for who they are and allows you to learn things about them that you would not have learned otherwise. When you jump into a relationship without being friends first, all types of issues and challenges occur. You begin to expect more from the person and sometimes set unrealistic expectations. By putting friendship before a relationship, you can easily decide whether he is the perfect one to date or not as there will be no pretensions and more open space to talk about things that matter. When you develop a genuine friendship, there are no expectations. You can be yourself, as can your partner. You can learn everything you want to know about each other. You don’t have to worry about pretending to be someone you’re not. Developing a bond of friendship before a relationship is definitely better than letting attraction get the better of you and discovering later that you can’t even be good friends. It’s better to find out only that you don’t want a relationship during the friendship phase instead of finding out later when you have connected emotionally to your partner. Being friends before lovers also ensures that the initial infatuation wears off. You can see the other person for who they are and present your real self to them, which is an excellent foundation for a long-term relationship.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

Where does friendship start?

According to ‘Waiting and Dating’ by Dr. Myles Munroe, there are five stages of friendship development: stranger, acquaintance, casual friend, close friend, and intimate friend. The stranger is the lowest stage and also the most important. The birth and progression of a friendship are dependent upon the first impression a person makes on another. If it is a bad impression, then chances are it will not develop. If it is a good impression, then the chances are it will develop. A good impression will lead to continued interaction, which opens the doors to the next stage in the process. The acquaintance stage happens with occasional interactions that you experience with a person. You might know each other in the social and business aspect of each other's lives but do not know each other personally.  The casual friend stage is when people are personally invested in each other; they are aware of each other's achievements and give praise and support. However, they are not emotionally invested in each other. This is the stage most people make it to. Obviously, making it to the close friend and intimate friend stage takes more time, shared experiences, and vulnerability. We become friends with the people we cross paths with regularly – coworkers, classmates, people we run into at the gym or church - because we have things in common with them. We live, work or hang out at the same places. To go from acquaintance to friend, the two have to start sharing the details of their personal lives. Opening up about yourself and being vulnerable opens the door for friendship. In the early stages, one person will risk disclosing personal information with the hopes the other person will do the same. If they do - a friendship begins. Friendships start with proximity, vulnerability, and the ability to validate our social identity. For example, guys who value their identity as high school football stars are likely to call a former teammate their “best friend.” And single mothers who take their kids to the same daycare facility may become close because they understand what the other is going through, having to raise kids on their own. Basically, we stick with people who support our social identity and withdraw from those who don’t. When our lives change over time, our friends often do, too. If you’re on a career track, you may pull away from a friend who found more value in raising her family. You don’t have the same social identity anymore, so that the bond may weaken. So even though we think we love our friends because of who they are, we actually love them because they support who we are.  
(MS, LMHC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

What does friendship mean to me

Friendship is honesty, love, warmth, loyalty, and simply someone you can be with and have fun with. Friends are non-judgmental; they give you unconditional love. They put you ahead of themselves. And to BE a good friend, of course, we should reciprocate these qualities. Friendship is having someone who will always love you no matter what but won’t hesitate to tell you that you’re acting irrationally. It knows that you can pick up the phone when you’re at your lowest and have someone who will listen. When interacting with others for an extended period of time, the easiest thing to do is spot their flaws; however, friendship entails knowing we are both flawed but still valuable to each other and the world. Someone being a friend does not necessarily entail that they will know everything about you or your day-to-day life, and that’s okay, too. Navigating friendships is subjective, however worthwhile. Friendship is reciprocal in that you give to receive. Friends are the ones who can sense when you're feeling down; they're the ones who reach out and say they were thinking of you just because. Although I may not see them for a long period of time, they are still the closest people to me because our connection surpasses time. It's like there is an invisible cord connecting our spirit. However, friendship is not always intimate and close-knit, and that’s OK. Your friends have other friends as well, some they may consider closer than you, or who they share more history with. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make your bond any less valuable. It's also important to understand that, sometimes, not all of your friendships will stand the test of time. Maybe you've grown apart, maybe there's the distance between you, or maybe you no longer have as much in common. Maybe a friendship just left your life for no reason in particular. People come in and out of our worlds because we needed to learn something from them, and they learned from us. Just because the friendship didn't last doesn't make their footprint on your life any less impactful.
(LMHC, CSAYC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

Can friendship turn into a relationship

Friendships are one of the greatest gifts we are given. Imagine someone wanting to spend time with us because we have the same interests or just getting along so well. What happens when the feelings start to get deeper, and the attraction becomes more than significant? Can a friendship turn into a relationship? The answer to this question is complicated and not an easy one to answer. As with all relationships, there are 2 individuals to consider, and just because one person is feeling a certain way does not mean that same feeling is reciprocal. Communication is very important; however it is important to remember once words are said, they cannot be taken back. Once that boundary has been crossed and romantic feelings have been expressed, it is very difficult to go back to “just being friends.” It is also possible for friendships to blossom into great romantic relationships.  When you are in a friendship relationship, people tend to be more “themselves” as they are more comfortable, and the constraints of a romantic relationship are non-existent. There is no pressure to behave a certain way or look a certain way because that is not the foundation of the relationship.  For this reason, the other party is seeing the “real” you and not just the part you are choosing to let them see. They (or you) tend to be interested in their personality and other positive aspects, as the original relationship was not based on sexuality or intimacy. While great relationships are built on a solid foundation, and many romantic partners refer to their best friends, not all relationships started as friendships. Taking the “next step” to go from friendship to romantic partners can be scary and should be done with careful consideration. There is always a risk when putting yourself out of a possible romantic situation; however, in situations like this, the stakes are higher because you risk harming the friendship. It cannot be undone once this line is crossed, and feelings can not be taken back.
(MA, LPCC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

Are happiness and joy the same thing?

Happiness and joy are both great emotions to experience that a lot of us long to experience.  Happiness and joy are both really enjoyable, but they are different from each other.  One of the main differences between joy and happiness is that joy is more internal, whereas happiness is external.  Joy is a state of being that someone achieves over time, whereas happiness is triggered several times throughout a day. Happy moments are great, but joy is more of a lasting state than happy moments can be.  Happiness is a great goal, and joy is an even greater goal to have more lasting positive mental health benefits for someone. Joy is a state of contentment that one achieves through several practices.  Being consistent with gratitude practices, mindfulness, among other things, can help one feel joy.  When someone is in a state of joy, they can have peace and contentment about the things that are in their life.  Sure, there will still be some negatives because no one’s life is perfect.  However, when one is in a state of joy, the good things outweigh the bad things in a way that helps them achieve joy.  Even if there are several good things in someone’s life, it takes intentional practice to achieve joy. Happiness is an emotion that outside sources can trigger, sometimes several times a day.  It is more of a passing feeling rather than a state of being.  Outside sources that can trigger happiness could be other people, hobbies, foods, experiences, among other things.  Whereas joy is more of a state to be in, happiness involves more of going after the external things that trigger happiness for you.  For example, if someone triggers happiness by spending time with friends, they have to go after that to experience happiness intentionally. That same person will need to pick up on how much they appreciate their friends while also picking up on the other great things in their life to get to a state of joy. 
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Will friendship turn into love?

Friendships are a great part of life that involves great companionship and deep care for one another.  Sometimes the feelings involved in a friendship can easily develop into romantic feelings and even love.  It can be unclear when that happens, and it is important to consider why that can happen.  One fact that contributes to a friendship turning into love is attraction.  The attraction has a physical and an emotional component to it.  Friends typically become friends through an emotional attraction.  There are similarities between two people that bond them emotionally to some extent. As two friends become emotionally close, the physical attraction can sometimes start to develop. This is especially true if the person you are friends with is of the sex that you are attracted to.  If your feelings for your friend start to develop into romantic love, it is important to consider the risks involved.  Friendships can be such a valuable companionship, and out of respect to that companionship, it is important to consider the risks involved in pursuing the romantic love that is developing.  It is possible that romantic love could be real and that your friendship could turn into a long-term relationship of some kind.  However, there is also the chance that the love complicates things too much and adds too many expectations to the friendship, which can lead to the friendship ending.  As you consider all of this, try to remember to be honest with yourself about your feelings and what you need.  Try also to consider the other person’s feelings and if you feel comfortable, be honest with them about your feelings.  Being honest with them does not necessarily mean they will feel the same way, but it can help clear the air either way. If their feelings are not the same, it can give you closure for your romantic feelings, and know that you should stick to the friendship.  When doing that, make sure to be honest with yourself and your friend about certain boundaries that can hopefully help you adjust your feelings back to a friend level.  Love is a great thing, but so is a friendship so try to be thankful for that and appreciate that as you think about your feelings.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Will Friendship Never Die?

While this is a great question, the answer is not clear-cut. The short, condensed answer to this question is that friendships can die out, but they also can change. Not all friendships are created. Equally, it’s more about timing and equity. Thinking back to friendships that were made in preschool or elementary school, it’s easy to see where one would think that friendships would last forever. You’re learning how to make friends, and almost everyone is starting on equal footing. You’re learning how to navigate in a social world with others outside of your immediate family. You learn at this time that some individuals are more like you, and you develop bonds with them, AKA – friendships. Generally, what happens with friendships made in preschool or elementary school is that they change or fade out. This takes place when moving from grade to grade and new individuals are present. This is totally normal; some friendships will become casual. Friendships can be difficult to cultivate as an adult because of having daily routines and not meeting new people regularly and responsibilities that demand our time. However, adult friendships can be just as strong as friendships that were cultivated in childhood. Like any relationship, it does take work to maintain a friendship, but it can be worth it. When talking about friendships dying, it is important to realize that friendships do die or fade out. It is rare to have friendships that last a lifetime. However, it is not impossible. Much like other relationships, friendships demand time and energy; they are not perfect relationships that happen without work. Another factor that plays into the longevity of a friendship is the maturity level of each person in the friendship. In middle school or high school, friendships are not always solid due to peer pressure from others affecting the relationship. Individuals must often conform to a certain image, which can destroy friendships if maturity is not involved. It’s important to remember that not all friendships will be lifelong. However, all friendships teach us lessons and should be cherished.
Answered on 04/29/2021