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Sunday, August 2, 2009

What is Friendship?

Back from an intermittent exile, here I am. First of all, let me wish all you readers out there a very happy friendship day. No matter which part of the world you belong to, today is the day to glorify friendship! If everyone could have regarded everyone as friends, the world would have been a different place to live in - no quarrels, no fights, no wars, no bloodshed... think about it!
That has been my dream for so long now, and yet to be realized and I am not sure, if ever that will be realized. *sigh*

Never mind , I thought what constitutes friendship. Is it about mutual trust and respect? Is it about alliance? partnership? In a recent study on friends and best friends, this is what Professor Kuezban had to say with respect to the newly coined Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship

"Friendships are about alliances. We live in a world where conflict can arise and allies must be in position beforehand. This new hypothesis takes into account how we value those alliances. In a way, one of the main predictors of friendship is the value of the alliance. The value of an ally, or friend, drops with every additional alliance they must make, so the best alliance is one in which your ally ranks you above everyone else as well."

The study also revealed that our mind subconsciously reads what our prospective partner (read friend) thinks about us. So, if we consider someone as our best friend, inherently we want to know if it is the other way round. So, a sort of mutual alliance is set up.

As per wikipedia, there are so many dimensions of friendships today, some of which are:
  • Soulmate - This is the ultimate form. Soulmates, sort of, die for each other. The ideal friendship - rarely found these days. Tell me people, do you have a friend who could die for you (I am not talking about love), or you could die for him(or her).
  • Penpal - You write to me, I shall write to you. We will exchange ideas and thus, we will know each other better and gather knowledge. Remember the days of postcards and inland letters? ...and of newspaper advertisements asking for penfriends (or penpals) [in the pre-internet boom era]? Why- even the day before, I came across a newspaper advertisement looking for penfriends, so it is very much there today.
  • Internet friendship - This is very much in place today. With hundreds of social networking sites, keeping in touch is really easy notwithstanding which part of the earth you belong to - only condition is you should have access to the internet. Some of the most popular networking sites today are Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Zorpia, Fropper, Ning and Linkedin.
  • Comrade - This is a term very much use by the leftists in West Bengal when they refer to fellow political party workers. Mainly used to denote an ally, someone with a similar objective. Also used in military to denote team spirit and high esteem.
  • Casual relationship - This is considered to be a fling in the US. No expectations from either party - just for the sake of having a 'good time', whatever that means!
  • Boston marriage - Same as the legalization of Indian Penal Code 377। Do I need to say more?
  • Blood brother - Denotes blood relationships, , 'खून का रिश्ता' (in Hindi)
  • Open relationship - A relationship where the partners are free to choose others for fulfilment of physical desires. When this happens in marriage, it is called "Open marriage".
  • Roommate - The person who has lived with you at one point in time, generally in a hostel or a PG accommodation and do not share a family or romantic relationship.
  • Imaginary friend - General imagery created by a child when he or she considers someone as a friend - could be a living (example: a butterfly) or a non-living object (example: a doll).
  • Spiritual friendship - This refers to the kind of friendship with a higher purpose, as in Buddhist ideology. One of the friends can have more knowledge than the other and the relationship sweetens when the flow of knowledge enlightens both.
  • Inter species friendship - This is so common. Millions of us have pets in their households - be it cats, dogs, cows, goats, sheeps or something as weird as a venomous snakes! But when the creatures stay with us for a long time, a kind of friendship develops. Personally I had a cat who lived for 5 years and I loved it. We would play in the evenings and I used to be thrilled with all its antics. I am sure, many of you must have had similar experiences.
So, the word FRIENDSHIP is vast and used in a very wide range of scenarios. There are also theories that suggest factors which have an effect on friendship, some of which are:

  • Similarity - We instantaneously like people who are similar to us.
  • Proximity - "Out of sight, out of mind" is much more than a mere phrase. So, seeing each other often counts in a BIG way!
  • Reciprocity - This was discussed at the start. We tend to like people who like us and dislike those who dislike us.
  • Beauty - Looks kill. So, if you are beautiful, if you are good looking, if you are handsome, you definitely have an edge in making friends. People would fall flat to your charisma without you trying too much.
  • Competence - Last, but not the least: Nobody wants to make friends with idiots and duffers. So, if you have the skills, the competence, if you are sharp, demonstrate knowledge and intellect, there are hundreds who would be turned on!

Think about the people who are your friends (or whom you regard your friends). I am sure one or more of the above factors would be at play.

As the saying goes, "Great minds think alike", similarly, friendship develops among like minded individuals. You can probably empathize or sympathize with all. But while making friends, there would be more factors to count on. It's more than just a click on the button "Accept as a friend" on a social networking site!

Image source: http://www.quotesarcade.com/graphics/friendship


pawan said...

Great one!
In internet friends you forgot to mention US, i.e blogger!

I am one of them, and moreover Happy Friendship Day!

Good post man!
Keep going!

Chiranjib said...

Thanks Pawan. Yes, blogging friends definitely feature in the list. "Happy friendship day" to you too! Keep coming back. Take care.

BK Chowla said...

Happy friendship day to all

Chiranjib said...

Happy Friendship Day to you too... :D
Take care..

Smita said...

Happy Friendships Day to you too :-)

And thats a nice categorisation of friends :-)

vimmuuu said...

When everyone dedicated their friendship day post to their friends, you came up with something different. This is soo cool !!! Happy friendship day to you buddy !!!

Chiranjib said...

:) Thanks...

Hey thanks man! Glad that you liked the post! Keep visiting...

Kiran said...

A very unique post! Happy friendship day :)


Chiranjib said...

Welcome to my blog. A very happy friendship day to you too! :)

pawan said...

You are being missed on my blog! :P

Chiranjib said...


aliceinneverland said...

interesting post....!

Chiranjib said...

Hey thanks! Glad to see you in the blogosphere after a long time !!! :D

Valerine said...

Hey thats so sweet...Belated wishes to you...

Chiranjib said...

Belated wishes to you too... :)