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Why do humans form friendships? Is it for the reason to prevent conflicts over competing for the same resources? Is it for the emotional bonding between humans? What constitutes those bonds? Does it result from shared experiences? Brain chemicals? Why do friends turn on each other? Why do they stay lifelong associates? Personally, I rarely see the friends I have, I rarely communicate with them, I don’t really desire to seek out their company. People go out with friends, have dinner with them, perform recreational activities with them, but why? What is gained from friendships? What evolutionary advantage does friendship hold and is that still relevant in contemporary society? If it is not relevant today, what newly emergent properties does friendship hold that are beneficial to today’s modern human?

NothinnXpreVails 8 Aug 11

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I would have thought friendship involved seeking connection and common cause with others for mutual support and benefit, but I have to confess that on the whole, I'm no longer so sure it's a reliable source of that. The older I get, the less I understand people. And I suppose the feeling's mutual.

Personally I find that "friendships" work best when the objectives are modest, the mood light, and expectations minimal. That way when someone behaves inexplicably you don't feel the need to invest much in finding an explanation or motivation. Apart from my wife, my "friends" are all fungible commodities. And when they treat me as such, I'm not bothered by it.

I've been surprised to come to the conclusion that my actual social needs at this point in my life are extremely modest. My wife and I still try to make connections as a couple because I'm trying to support her more significant needs in that area. We have found some real success of late connecting with my daughter and son in law and grandchildren, so there's that. But casual friendships in general? Hard to find those without subterranian cross currents and undertows created by their hidden agendas.


As a social being most of us seek out others who share our thoughts and likes. They turn on these friends when a difference of opinion occurs or when they feel offended by some action. They meet with these friends to share their views and feel good about it.


The friends I'm close to mean the world to me. More than some family members. They hear me, see me, share with me, help me feel connected, and the feeling is mutual. Also, the stronger the friendship, the more freedom there is to be ourselves and also - very important - the willingness and ability to work through problems and disagreements.


Because we are herd animals. And while we can belong to many different herds, we still behave with herd mentality. Jealousy and greed (females or males, grass -- not that kind of grass or money) cause companions to disappear. Anything outside our specific herd has always been evil.


To share adventures make each other laugh to create anticipation basically to invoke underlying emotions.


It is comforting for some of us to associate with people who think similarly. It can be reassuring that we are "fitting into society," wherein, imo, human interaction is just a natural inclination. I like to get together with (my very few) friends to bounce ideas off them, and to help me stay within certain parameters in my thinking; i.e., not go over the edge, to help maintain rationality within the appropriate context.

And, there's the simple notion of worth and value. I like to think I enrich my friends' lives. You can be relatively certain, I think, when that does/does not happen by the ones you keep and the ones who go away.

When I was working, I had lots of friends; not so much now. Likewise, once I retired in 2009, my friends changed, gradually, to the people I met at the dog park, of all places. What did we all have in common? Dogs, of course. I had a great social life for a few years with those folks, until my last relationship went sour. Now, on the other side of all that, and since I'm not paired up, it all went away.

Being alone is paradoxical in so many ways, at least for me. I do like having friends to associate with on a regular basis; and I enjoyed helping them out, and getting help from them when one of us needed it. I enjoyed tremendously, my weekly racquetball games with one particularly bright and accomplished guy I knew. And having somewhat deep conversations, at times, was very gratifying. Single life, however, can also mean you don't have some of those social obligations that can at times feel burdensome.

It's funny, I was thinking peripherally about this very same thing this morning. Thanks for the post, it has helped me flesh out my thinking on this. And probably bored you silly.

Nah, it didn’t bore me


Friendship? What strange word is this?

Of friends, I have none. They last time someone called me a friend, I ended up being used and abused and had my bank account diminished greatly. I've never had more than 2 or 3 friends at a time. Even then, I could live with them and I could live without them. As things are, right now, I feel I could get by for the rest of my life with no friends.


Too many questions at head is spinning! Friendships are essential for the health and wellbeing of humankind. We are pack animals and American Psychologist Abraham Maslow listed in his Heirarchy of Human Needs the 5 levels we strive to achieve.....survival, safety,social, esteem and fulfilment ( in descending order of importance). My advice to you is don’t neglect friendships, loneliness is the scourge of modern society and can rapidly lead to mental health and sometimes even physical health breakdown. Repair any friendships and reach out, you don’t have to live in each other’s pockets but neither should you feel you don’t need them in your life. If you are feeling as low as you seem you may need to consult a doctor as it sounds like you may be suffering from some form of depressive illness.

Feeling? I was unaware that I had included any emotional descriptors.

@NothinnXpreVails You don’t desire to see friends, that in itself seems like an indicator that you wish to isolate yourself...not a natural human desire. I was referring to the feelings I felt when reading your post, and forgive me if I misinterpreted. I would not presume to know how you feel, but you did pose the questions, and I thought it was an invitation to give feedback.

@Marionville indeed, it was. I’m looking for others’ ideas about friendship and why we do the things we do

@NothinnXpreVails I can only speak from my own personal experience of friendship and this is not the psychological theory, but my own life knowledge. I have always been an extrovert and one of life’s optimists, have lots of friends and acquaintances, and an extremely happy marriage until my husband died in 2010. That was a blow, but inevitable in life that loss will be part of it. I had one friend above all others who I confided in and she with me. There was nothing I could not confide in her with absolute certainty of her discretion and wise counsel. She was closer than any sister could be. She sadly died almost 2 years ago but there is not a day that I don’t miss her and thus us nitvsimething I would tell my sons, but I miss her more that I missed my husband when he died. In fact she helped me through that loss with her humour and friendship. That is why I urged you in my reply to try to rekindle your old friendships, they could be vital some day and life is so much richer knowing that others care about you.


Friendship is a way to connect with other humans. Life is all about the connections we make. People come in and out of our lives, but it is the time we spend together that matters.

Ok, but why does it matter?

@NothinnXpreVails I don’t know. But I know it matters. I can feel it when I have “deep” conversations with others.

@NothinnXpreVails Because we are social animals we live in packs or groupings. We started out being tribal and still are largely, it is in our make up to be this way.


Those are great questions. I had an idealistic understanding of friendship. Maybe like blood-brothers. A bond, while not as strong as an ideal loyalty in marriage, but quite strong. If those days ever existed, I think they are gone. Friendship might simply reduce (or already has) into groups who use each other for recreation without bonds, to avoid solitary entertainment.

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