The 7Fs are essential parts of living a longer, better life. One of those Fs is Friendships (the others are Food, Fitness, Future, Fun, Finances, and Faith), considered to be the highest and finest of all human relationships.
Different people provide the friendship we need at different times of our lives (some friends, of course, remain for the long haul). This shift is not surprising, given that most of us change with time and experience, and all parties to a friendship are changing simultaneously. When couples divorce, for example, people might take sides with one of the divorcing pair or lose touch with both of them when they go their separate ways.
Generating and retaining modern-day friendships can be tough going. Exploring the past doesn’t seem to be of much use for us when we’re searching for models or examples. Most of the famous friendships recorded in history and legend are between men and most of those appear as a bit more than friendships (Achilles and Patroclus, for example). Contemporary models offered by film and television and the effect of social media add to the confusion. All we’re able to conclude from these models is that friendship is far more emotional than rational. While it could be argued that qualities such as shared interests, attitudes, views, tastes, style, appearance, and sense of humour are reasons for engaging, friendships tend to be natural, spontaneous, freely given, and entered into more on subliminal cues than other qualities.
Despite the confusion, we do know that we have to work at retaining friendship. Back in Aristotle’s day (350 BCE), he reckoned that one and a half bushels of salt needed to be consumed together before a friendship became solid.