According to the Oxford Dictionary, friendship refers to the conduct or emotions of friends. This implies that friendship is a state of being friends. This definition incorporates the word emotion to show that friendship is a positive attribute in the sense that it represents a form of kindness is given to a person. Circumstantial definition of the word friendship is different from the one provided by the English dictionary. Ordinary circumstances describe the word friendship as referring to any form of meaningful, peaceful relationship between individuals, groups, or even countries that sacrifice to be together irrespective of whether the relationship will give genuine returns. This suggests that the word friendship does not mean emotional relationships between friends only, but also any other form of association with material benefits signifying a peaceful coexistence. There are different form of friendship such as facebook and real life friends which brings different individuals into a relationship.
Friendship can be said to define the state of having mutual trust where the involved entities show passionate emotions or conduct towards one another. Friendship is a very personal phenomenon that makes people relate on grounds of concern for each other (The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Philosophy explains the term friendship from an intimacy perspective because friends are always together in many situations. This implies that friendship is all about mutual benefit and friends have something positive to take from a friendship.
Philosophical explanations describe friendship as a social good that is life enhancing. Friendship makes people feel more alive (The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). This implies that friendship is a social phenomenon with great ability to influence the emotions of people. Friendship is also associated with other important, yet emotional social elements like self-esteem and confidence. In fact, studies on the work of Aristotle reveal that friendship is critical in enhancing the quality of life because it brings happiness. This makes the definition of friendship from an emotional perspective accurate. Emotions are part of the human, natural feelings that are expressed through friendly associations between people. This shows that emotions cannot be separated from friendship. Despite the fact that emotions are an important part of friendship, it is important to define it from other perspectives.
There is the aspect of opportunisms in friendship is given that some people may come together on the short-term basis for a common goal. This implies that friendship may also mean a form of cooperation that is aimed at taking advantage of numbers to win or obtain some favors. For instance, world armies have been found to come together during times of war in order to defeat a common enemy. During such alliances, the word friendship is used to describe the act of coming together. After the goal that necessitated the formation of friendship is achieved, the relationship disintegrates. Parties to such friendly associations may be free to form similar relationships with other parties with total disregard to the previous relationship. This is an evidence that friendships are not based on emotional aspects only, but also on material gains. This observation may be used further to explain why friends may part ways after being in a friendship. The breaking of friendship may be interpreted as a stage where a relationship has no opportunity for the involved parties to benefit. In this regard, the definition of the word friendship should include the aspect of opportunism, which may be negative at some point depending on the reasons that a friendship exists.
The state of being friends also means that people are involved in friendship as a relationship. A close look at the denoted meaning of the word friend reveals that it refers to having a mutual bond between people. This may be interpreted to mean that people in friendship are motivated by the promise of certain positive outcomes, which come in the form of benefits. In other words, friendship is a state of association that is motivated by positive anticipations not only in emotional, but also in material benefits. For example, the association of countries that relate under the banner of friendship. Countries exchange different goods and services as a way of proving and cementing their relationship, which is mostly friendship.
The Oxford Dictionary also defines friendship as a ‘state’. The dictionary defines the word state as a condition of something or someone at a specific time (Oxford Dictionaries, 2014). This infers that friendship is also defined by time. The element of time in this case means that friendship has a time line. A close look at this assertion literally reveals some facts that prove time as an important element in defining friendship. People are known to live in a particular place on a temporary basis given that they relocate for various reasons such as employment demands. Similarly, relationships that can be said to describe friendship as a permanent thing such as marriage also ends in some cases through divorce. Even among close family members, friendship ends through death. These examples show that friendship is a condition that people, groups, or even countries are at a specific time. It is important to understand the term friendship from this perspective too rather than from an emotional point of view.
Apart from the emotional aspect of friendship, one can also say that this association embraces material gains. There has to be some form of sacrifice given that not every part in such as relations is capable of returning equal favors as received. This implies that friendship is also a relationship status that requires sacrifice. According to Reisman, a friend expects to receive countless material favors with the giver expecting less in terms or mercy, love, and loyalty (22). This implies that friendship means sacrifice and having the urge to help without expecting much in return. Incidents that show this fact is very common in public. For instance, a teacher-student relation is defined by friendship by any standards. A student expects to gain knowledge from a teacher, but the teacher does not expect much from the students after succeeding in the future.
Facebook can establish remarkable friendship when taken seriously. This is so because the original intent of Facebook was for users to connect with true friends and find long lost friends. Facebook is believed to offer its users some pleasure or psychological friendship. However, there are significant differences between the Facebook friends and real life friends. Facebook friends will never keep one company while real life friends keep one company when they are available. Facebook friend is available whenever when little green dot appears beside their name. The real friends are physically available and will tend to know what you are doing and busy.
Nonlinear relationship may exist between the numbers of Facebook friends than in real life friends. Having too many friends not necessarily increase social support one can receive in the real life friendships. In contrast, real friends are aware of your flaws and goodness and are not afraid of informing you when you make a mistake. Real friends can make you feel good when depressed about job or relationship. Although Facebook friends can offer a decisive opinion and console you, they do not have the same context as real friends. This is so because it takes time and effort to build and maintain mutual companionship with friends.
The boundaries between Facebook and real life friends’ communication are quite different. The transparent interaction that is available with Facebook friends raises concerns about privacy. This is so because Facebook friends, share content without any concerns about privacy. This might bring indiscipline relationship between Facebook friends. For instance, the Facebook friends tend to have unresolved sexual tension due to flattering that is involved in the chat. However, there is no unresolved sexual tension in the real friends because of real friendship that one wants to keep on growing.
With the Facebook friends, you can do things like chatting about any activity that make you happy or annoys you. However, with real friends you can do real activities such as watching TV, football and do activities that you both enjoy. Likewise, Facebook friends can communicate with each other via profiles, private messaging, and commenting. These modes of communication allow friends to engage in self-presentation in a selective manner. This seems to be constrained than that in real friends where there are almost no restrictions on how one presents him or herself to others.
Self-presentation may take different forms such as status, updates, photo album management, and message posting among others. In doing these self-presentation activities, some friends present themselves by only highlighting the favorable and appropriate images of themselves. On the other hand, the real life friends prefer to present themselves in a true to the self - manner, engaging in deeper levels of self-disclosure (John 31). The real friends present themselves honestly without selectively putting their best face forward.
It is possible that the user with a large number of Facebook friends will have mindlessly expanded his or her friends’ network without making any serious effort toward making the relationship grow. On the other hand, the real life friends take time to build relationships, which increase a positive association with greater social support. Therefore, it might not sound wise to say, having Facebook friends or real friends is better than the other. However, there is something more special about real than visual friendship.
In a recap, the word friendship can be said to define a relationship from three perspectives. First, friendship means an emotional state where the involved parties offer each other emotions that are meant to express love. This explains the form of friendship that allows people to coexist peacefully. Similarly, friendship means being there for one another for mutual benefit of material gains. Friendship is also a state of being in an opportunistic relationship whereby the relationship is ended after the anticipated goals are attained. Friendship is also defined by time in many aspects given that it is always bound to end at one time. Defining friendship from the perspective of emotions may not embrace all the aspects involved. The incorporation of the material benefits is important in describing the meaning of the word friendship. Likewise, Facebook and real friends can build an emotional and opportunistic relationship.
John, Fletcher. "Social media conundrum: Facebook friends, real friends." Fort Worth Business Press 22.15 (2010): 30-34.
Oxford Dictionaries. "Friendship." 2014. Web. 17 Mar 2014 <http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/friendship>.
Reisma, John. Anatomy of Friendship. New York: Irvington publishers, 1979. Print.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. " Friendship." 2005. Web. 17 Mar 2014 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/>.