What is the difference between a close friendship and a close relationship? Most of us believe that when friendship becomes stronger, it may turn into a relationship. The truth is different. Think about the kind of talks you have with your friends. You are always very open about your failures and shortcomings. You are not shy of talking about your problems and asking your friends to help you. In a close friendship, you expect to know everything about each other.
How about a relationship? Think about animals. They also show their best side to their mate. We as human beings also keep a lot of secrets from our partners. We do not want to tell them about our failures and shortcomings. We also try to impress our partner during a romantic period of time. This difference between friendship and relationship is very deep. We calculate our moves in a relationship but are very open in a friendship. We are like a child in friendships but behave like an adult in relationships.
Many of us, however, spend our lives weaving in and out of feelings that we associate with love, never really having the ability to define it – especially when we’ve been blessed with our first child. There are no human words to describe that amazing moment when we witness such a miracle.
To come up with a definition that explains the difference between love and friendship is about as easy as pulling your heart out of your chest and showing someone what you feel when it’s been broken. But I’ll give it a try.
Love, in human terms, creates a feeling of oneness. A feeling that you are complete with a person, something that was missing earlier. Love creates a feeling of generosity and altruism, where we want to leave a positive mark on the world when we leave it (as well as while we are still here.) Kittens, puppies, babies, beautiful sunsets, crystal clear oceans, warm summer breezes, fields full of wild flowers in the spring, a pristine landscape after a new snowfall, and all such things inspire loving feelings that make us want to become caring and compassionate people.
Friendships on the other hand, do create many of the same opportunities for joy and happiness, but I don’t believe it’s on quite the same level of intensity as that of love.
In healthy friendships, the sharing is reciprocated, and life long bonds can be formed that may eventually mature into love. It could be romantic love, or the type of love you feel for someone who has carried you when you couldn’t hold yourself up, or the type of love you feel for someone who is struggling and your heart aches and longs to help, but the only thing you have to give is the energy of your love.
I believe the common denominator between friendship and love is the power of gratitude. It is not possible to feel love without feeling gratitude, and feeling gratitude can take an ordinary friendship and transform it into love.
So although they are clearly different, friendship, love or relationships seem to co-exist all the time. However when you examine it closely, love really is the glue that binds everything together, including friendships and relationships.