Friendship is the most fundamental element in all successful human relationships.
Friendship is perhaps the most common of all human relationships. Friendship is also the binding quality that is found in every relationship that is working and whose members get along.
Friendship includes such qualities as understanding, patience, forgiveness, sensitivity, tolerance, kindness, sympathy, empathy and so on. Friends will choose peaceful, harmonious interaction over interaction that is troublesome, conflicting and confusing.
Practical friendship involves friends performing acts of helpfulness and kindness toward each other and forgiving each other when mistakes are made or wrongful acts are done.
The members of any type of relationship which does not have the binding quality of friendship will experience conflict within that relationship. Those members will tend to drift apart from each other and eventually the relationship will end. A marriage, for example, can break up because its partners failed to be friends for an indefinite period.
All types of relationship can benefit by having the binding quality of friendship including: romantic, family, workplace, professional/client, business, seller/buyer, social/sports club and religious groups.
This binding quality can repair relationships whose damage results from the absence of friendship. Such relationships include marriages in which partners are not friends. Members of such relationships need to become friends and develop the qualities of friendship and perform the acts of friendship as mentioned above.
Friendship’s binding quality can also repair relationships whose damage results from causes other than the absence of friendship. Here’s an example: Mark and David are very good friends; each owns a small building contractor company; an important tender for a contract is advertised; it is the kind of contract of which both men dream; they both bid; both men are interviewed several times and asked to offer an alternative quote; finally, after both men wait with bated breath, David’s bid is accepted, he is offered the contract; Mark is saddened; he gradually ends his friendship with David; David is unhappy about losing Mark’s friendship; he forgives mark and offers him some of his newer contracts; Mark accepts David’s offer of these contracts and is happy once again; and finally, Mark resumes his friendship with David.
The importance of friendship as a relationship or as a part of all relationships should never be overlooked. True friendship embodies all of the best qualities we can have and all of the best acts we can perform toward each other. The qualities we develop and our mastery of the acts we perform when we practice true friendship are transferable to all other types of relationship. We should therefore use every opportunity we get to practise true friendship.
By Edward Fagan