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What's your view on Friendship?

1485 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  lolalalah

I would like to know how do you treat your friends?
I have seen differences in how friends are treated by people of different cultures.
-- People from Asia and Middle East treat friends like extended family. They get invited to family events. Friends are made with the intention of being a friend for life. Spouses are also supposed to give them an important place in the family as they are considered part of family". Friends are sometimes the sounding board when one cannot discuss something with the SO or family. So there is a lot so trust, and closeness in these friendships. Friends are so visible in your life that a lot of people get to know who your close friends are after a while. Not to mention, the friendship comes with commitments too, such as sincerity, loyalty and helping out when all the chips are down...even if it might affect your own life.
These friendships transcend socio-economics barriers and they are not gender-related (i.e. Girls make more such friends than boys, etc.)
In a nutshell, friends become family and so you do not treat friendship lightly. ('I am talking about majority of friendships, not just anecdotal ones)

-- Friendship in the US doesn't seem to be like that, maybe unless these are your friends from kindergarten?? I don't know. I have seen very few such friendships in the US where the friend is like family. Usually, the GF/BF/SO, etc. become important and the friends are supposed to recede...I think most people know this, so they accept friendships based on this understanding.

I, myself, prefer the former type of friendships and so take a lot of time finding a good friend because people here are not so much into the 1st kind.

So what's your idea on friendship? Which kind do you prefer (Please elaborate if there are more kinds) and why?

Please understand that I am not referring to exceptions :)
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True. I am an introvert too. I will make a few friends that I hope last me a lifetime.
My introvertedness only limits the number of friends not the intimacy of my friendships.
However, the friendship types I mentioned refer to the kind of friendship one has, regardless of introversion/extroversion.
In the 1st kind of friendship mentioned in my OP (I should have given each a Label so that it would be easier to refer:)), extroverted people have a bunch of such friends and the introverted ones tend to have slightly fewer...but really all depends. As sometimes, some friends are from childhood, some from college, etc.

Yes, I have noticed that in England.

In the ME, and Asia, as I mentioned - Friends become yes things stay in the "family". However, the concept of family is not restricted to just blood relations (exceptions exist..but I am including Asia as well).

Sorry, I probably didn't clarify well-
NOT ALL FRIENDS become family...I meant close friends...however, in the end, friendships are made with the intention of one day becoming close.
However, since the communities (as well as families) like to know who the individual hangs out with out of curiosity and keeping an eye out - they usually welcome all kinds of friends. It is left to the individual to decide who he/she wants to call. However, all festivals/occasions, friends are welcome. I cannot think of any where friends are forbidden (a family might have individual restrictions but usually most families don't forbid friends).
An example- Weddings in SouthEast Asia, have almost 1000 guests! (Only a couple of events are reserved for small number of guests and then it is usually very close friends that are invited, but they are invited. )These are not family only...a lot of them are friends...of the people getting married and the in-laws as well...but this is not an example of friendship..just an example of how "loose" the concept of family usually is..even good neighbors become family.
Again, in those cultures, food is always shared regardless of how little or how much one has.
And in those places, you can be travelling through and get invited for a meal :)

But then I digress....nothing to do with friendship although it speaks of a certain attitude to outsiders.
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...and you'll be ostracised if you'd rather not mingle with hundreds of people, many of them likely strangers to you. Rejecting Asian social tribalism makes you a pariah.

Personally, I tend to end up doing friends one at a time.
True :) Extroversion is so important to so many people in the world...
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Personally, I tend to end up doing friends one at a time. Since family + friend means more than one person, I tend not to mix the two.
I keep my friends separate from family only when the crowd is small because I fear that my family might get to know my "other side". I have different images in front of family and friends..friends know me better...I don't show all my sides to my family. The deeper intricate things are usually known to the closest of friends and they are sworn to secrecy :)
Also, if my family saw the kind of friends I made, who are usually very different from them, they will get to know more about me, which I do not like.
As the saying goes- you cannot choose family but you can choose your friends.
I don't like my private self mixing with the public.
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I've always found it exhausting to try to bridge my mind with more than one other mind at a time. When you add even just a third mind, there's simply too much interference for it to be worth the trouble for me. Most of the time.

I literally only hang out with one person at a time, whether they're family, friend or an acquaintance.
Me too. I cannot manage 2 people at the same time...but that is probably because I don't make "similar" friends so that they can genuinely connect and take the pressure off of me. First of all, I don't have a huge circle of friends..usually I max out at 2. Anything more than 2 friends (in my life..not hanging out together, which I usually won't allow) isn't possible in my world. I don't like sharing that much of my emotions or secrets. During college, sometimes more than 2 people wanted to be my friend but I chose only 2 and that automatically made many others think that I am a snob..but they didn't know that I really cannot handle that many friends.
I give a lot to my friends- mentally, and emotionally. I treat them as an extension of myself. Once I trust them and consider them really close, they feel like a part of me. It's exhausting to do this with lots of friends. However, I am a very cautious and private person. I don't believe in sharing my secrets and flaws with so many people on earth. Hence, I have acquaintances that don't know me at all although they THINK they do. However, friends...x varies from 0-2.
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'Maybe not scared of loosing friendship by saying a few things you oppose of, or just want to give view on."

This statement is "True" only initially as I am figuring out the strength of the relationship. However, I cannot be friends for long with a person who cannot tell me things, however painful it may be, and hear things in return. The intention is never to hurt but to understand and change if necessary.
@master of time and space -
'I don't feel that I have the skills to develop friendships'
Neither do I. Usually the friends I have had were the ones who initiated and chased me. I don't know how to initiate. As I have grown older, I have found it harder to find good friends....I probably have too much in my heart and mind to risk now.

Friendship- it isn't about only liking your friend. It's also about being yourself in front of him/her without the fear of loss. It's not about hurting the other. It is a safe haven. It's a person who brings out your best and helps with your weaknesses... There isn't a place for fear. The world judges you enough..including family. Let there be some respite in the company of a close friend.
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Putting some levity in this thread...
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Definitely the first, Asia style. I'm glad there is a recognized way to have friends; I always believe myself to be in the minority on that.

By that (and my own) description, I have no friends. I used to, but then they became family. I don't make friends to be a friend, I make friends with the hope and possibility that they can see me as family eventually, that I can truly earn it.

My loyalty, trust and steadfast devotion do not come quick or easy and only my "family" earns that. When they have it there is little I won't do for them.

Family is forever, blood relation or not.
Might be a minority in some places but definitely not in Asia.

I am beginning to conclude that friendship is defined by far as the expectations in such a relationship goes.
While some people can meet these expectations, others cannot...obviously not everyone in Asia is going to have exactly the same attitude toward friendship...but for the vast majority...friends become part of family..

What is interesting is the concept that "do not wash your dirty laundry in public" is usually something followed in Asia/Middle only Family or snoopy people and close friends would know about your dirty laundry.
Yet, here in the US, most people do not mind talking about their problems/sorrows to strangers...however will not share a deep, intimate friendship necessarily. This dichotomy confuses me. So it's not information, it is something else that close friendship takes up in the relationship....cannot pinpoint what exactly it is. emotions? Personal space?
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