Posted: September 5th, 2013







“A friend is someone you like who likes you and with whom you share a positive chemical reaction” (Yager 11). This relationship could be a long or a short one depending on the period the friendship has lasted. Friendships are formed in the family, in school, at the workplace and other social places. The conditions that lead to the formation of friendship differ from happy situations to traumatic situations like accidents. It is said that human beings cannot survive without friends in their lives, everyone has friends in one or way or another. Sometimes friendships are developed without the knowledge of the ones involved. People have friends for different purposes in their lives. There are those whose friendships last, and there are those whose friendships are momentary. Given by these diverse purposes, friends can be divided into different categories. Yager gives these three categories as “casual, close and best” (11).


A casual friend is one with whom a person does not have close ties or any level of intimacy. There is some of undefined trust between casual friends and most often, they have shared interests. This friendship is most common in the workplace. This is because casual friends in the workplace only have work-related discussions. This friendship is also convenient for colleagues in the workplace because it does not require any emotional attachment as the other types of friendships do. Most people consider casual friendships shallow in terms of knowing details about each other.

For example, two colleagues from the same office can develop a casual friendship for the benefit of helping each other with work-related assignments and contracts. This friendship is also convenient in situations where they both do not want to be lonesome at the office. Casual friendships at the office are formed so that the working environment is warm and welcoming. In the organizational structure of businesses, there are cases of high-ranking administrative officers who consider their juniors as their casual friends. This means that they can talk about work issues and sometimes discuss how their families are doing without getting into details. This helps in the formation and implementation of rules, regulations and strategies for the overall improvement of the organization’s productivity. It also enhances better working relationships at the office.

McCall et al say, “The generalized character of friendship creates a note of equality. It has a leveling influence not only among friends but among all others drawn together with the same congregation” (97). This means that sometimes we meet friends through existing friends, this connection denoting that we are all equal because we are connected by the same friendship network. Most times this connection results to the formation of casual friendships. These casual friends will not develop any intimacy. However, there will be some level of trust between them created by the equality.

Second, a close friend is one around whom one feels comfortable enough to share their sincere and cherished secrets. The difference between a close friend and a casual friend is the level of intimacy. In a close friendship, the level of intimacy is higher than that which exists in a casual friendship. It is said that everybody has close friends, and the number of close friends one can accommodate is less than six. It is virtually impossible to have more than six close friends because one cannot maintain this large number. Spencer & Pahl adds “as commitment increases, we also find a growing sense that close friends are people who accept and affirm who you re” (71).

The commitment in close friends is not evident in casual friends because the level to which close friends like each other is also far above the ground. Close friendships are common among students in school, children at the playground and in some cases workmates. In school, the students develop close friendships among themselves because they spend a lot of time together. This time spent together, in school and at home, creates the environment for familiarity and develops attachments to one another.

At the playground, as young as they may see, children have preferences about whom they want to play with. This preference makes them spend more time with some children more than others, thus developing close friendship ties amongst themselves. Most of these close friendships are adopted by their parents as students and children visit each other in their homes. The parents pick up the bond that exists between their children and develop one of their own. At the workplace, there are few cases of close friendships. These cases are of those who have known each other since childhood, or they went to the same school, therefore, their friendship has lasted a long time.

Close friends provide someone with a sense of comfort especially in times of need. Close friends are always there when they are needed. Depending on the number of close friends an individual has, their availability will differ. There are those who are within reach and those who live far away. Maintaining close friendships is not easy because constant communication and home visits are paramount. Research has shown that, in very rare scenarios, close friendships are developed among family members. It is advisable to have dependable close friends, especially when needed them the most.

A best friend is defined by Yager as one who “will have all the criteria required to be a close friend, but with the additional distinction of being the premier friend” (12). This means that a best friend has surpassed the casual and close friend level. Best friends are the ones with whom we share problems, who know us extremely well and are always there for us no matter the situation. It is considered to have numerous casual friends, less than six close friends but only one best friend. This friendship grows over the years and usually starts during adolescence, in college, after college, before and after marriage.

Those who consider themselves best friends are people who have known each other for a long time and have seen each other through good and bad times. The bond that best friends share is extremely tight. Moreover, when they fall out, one of two things might happen; they might reconcile, or become lifelong enemies. Best friends share everything and are always together. Best friends carry out their activities together, and their families automatically become friends due to this bond. The trust existent in best friend is almost impossible to breach because they are committed to each other. Once best friends break up, it becomes difficult for them to trust other people again.

There are several examples of best friends in the society. It is presumed that girls are more likely to develop best friend ties with each than boys are. This is because girls are known to have more emotional attachment to their friends than boys do. The result of this is that one will find more female best friends than males ones. Female childhood friends are more likely to grow up to become best friends than male childhood friends are. This bond will only be maintained if they do not fall out. Distance does not mater to best friends, as there is constant communication over the phone or email ad they try to be there for each other during memorable occasions like weddings and graduations.

Best friendship is described as a complete kind of friendship by Aristotle & Irwin when they say, “complete friendship is the friendship of good people similar in virtue; for they wish goods in the same way to each other” (122). This friendship is that of complete selflessness and affection towards each other. A best friend has to be ready to sacrifice and compromise for the sake of the other, and they must wish nothing but the best for one another. Different situation test the level of commitment between best friends like a joyous celebration or the death of a loved one. Whether best friends will be there for one another or not, will prove their love and affection to each other and commitment to their friendship.


Everybody needs a friend, whether we know it or not. The presence of friends makes life bearable. It is important to make casual friend in the workplace and neighborhoods, to have close friends on whom we can depend in times of grief and to have a best friend that will walk through life with us. The choice of friends is unlimited; it can be anyone from your colleague in the office, a member of your family or your spouse. Once the friendship is formed, it has to be maintained and nurtured by all parties involved. It is also necessary to note that there are good friend and bad friends therefore careful selection needs to be made.






Work cited

Aristotle, and J A. Giles. Nicomechean Ethics. London: J. Cornish, 1870. Print.

McCall, George J. Friendship as a Social Institution. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers, 2011. Print.

Spencer, Liz, and R E. Pahl. Rethinking Friendship: Hidden Solidarities Today. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2006. Print.

Yager, Jan. When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You. New York: Fireside Book, 2002. Print.




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