Male friends sitting in grassFriendship is a close association between two people marked by feelings of care, respect, admiration, concern, love, or like.

What Is Friendship?

The defining characteristic of friendship is a preference for a particular person, but different people may have different definitions of and requirements for friendship. For example, very young children may refer to someone as their “best friend” two minutes after meeting, while very shy people or people from reserved cultures may report having only a handful of friends during their entire lives. Some people expect specific activities or emotions from their friends, while others merely conceive of friends as people around whom they spend time. Consequently, there’s no absolute definition of what does or does not constitute a friend and what a friend does or does not do. However, some common traits of friendship include:

  • Some degree of commitment both to the friendship and to the other person’s well-being
  • A desire for contact with some regularity with the other person–whether the frequency is once every ten years or once every two days
  • Mutual trust, concern, and compassion
  • Shared interests, opinions, beliefs, or hobbies
  • Shared knowledge about one another’s lives, emotions, fears, or interests
  • Feelings of love, respect, admiration, or like 

Friendship and Mental Health

Humans are social animals wired for connection, and even animals that are genetically similar to us like the great apes form friendships. Consequently, social isolation can be extremely damaging to people. People who report having friends are generally happier and feel better about themselves, while people with few or no friends may feel more isolated, frustrated, or angry.

Friendship plays such a significant role in happiness and well-being that some people seek mental health counseling for advice about how to keep or make friends. Conflict in friendships can be extremely distressing and the loss of a friend can spark immense grief. Some people use online or print services to find friends. Many organizations are dedicated to helping people make new friends, and some classified sites even offer their services to people looking to make friends.


  1. Friendship. (2009, July 09). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-7-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • Tarkaa D

    Tarkaa D

    March 15th, 2017 at 3:37 PM

    it is so interesting.



    May 18th, 2017 at 1:26 PM

    thats not true



    May 18th, 2017 at 1:26 PM


  • Chelsey


    July 1st, 2017 at 4:36 AM

    This didn’t really define the definition of friendship for me, I was hoping this would help me with one of my GCSE speeches but it didn’t, not helpful sorry

  • umme


    July 24th, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    hi chelsey, how about defining it by how and what you feel what friendship means to you? soemtimes this can help us look more deeply at our own understanding of it..and can create more meaningful and insightful truths that touch directly on our lives… Good luck though on your paper.. :)

  • mohaamad


    July 17th, 2017 at 11:39 PM

    “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.”
    Thomas Jefferson



    July 21st, 2017 at 5:01 AM

    thank you, i have learn some thing about friendship. sent more.



    July 21st, 2017 at 5:26 AM

    sent in detail. thank you

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