Defining human relationships in a narrowly defined term is one of the most difficult and challenging aspects for linguists as well as those studying human behavior. Friendship and love are two such phenomenons which often offer themselves in a wide spectrum of shades that can, and often do overlap. Yet the distinctions between them remain as stark as ever.
What do you mean by love and friendship?
Love may mean to me something very different from what it means to you. The same difference of opinion may be shared by us in defining what is friendship.
Friendship itself means an understanding andtrust that differs from one person to another. For some, knowing another person and being able to talk with him or her may be enough to classify the relationship as a friendship, while for others such casual verbal interaction may not carry any significance whatsoever. Some perceive friendship as a great relationship of trust, dedication and even devotion, to the extent that they would be willing to sacrifice anything for it, while for many others, it is just another filler in their busy life, and they would not even think twice before discarding a so called friend, if it means some profit.
Similarly, love can range from a platonic emotional and occasionally selfless relationship to a feeling that is hardly anything more than the lust for the body of a particular individual of the opposite sex. Sometimes it could be extremely deep and yet silent, while at other occasions one may repeat the three word phrase ten times a day without meaning a word of it. So, love again is not exactly the same thing for everyone.
Role of Emotions & Relationships
The comparison between the two gets even more complex once we take into account other emotions and relationships that overlap with them. For example, motherly love may not exactly be encompassing the friendship, as we perceiveit, but at the same time it would be a folly to say that mothers in spite of all their love and concern are not friendly to their children.
What then is the differentiation between the two. While accepting that both of these are rather broadly defined and differently understood concepts, it may be fair to identify certain peculiar characteristics that differentiate them.
Friendship is primarily a relationship between two individuals. It is rare to have a totally one-sided friendship. On the other hand, love is primarily an emotion that may have nothing to do with any relationship, or even the response of the other person to your emotion.
Love vs. Friendship
Friendship is usually a give and take phenomenon, where the actual give and take is substituted with a trust that the other person will offer you most of those things that you might be willing to offer to him. Unlike that, love is not dependent upon any such trust. It is instead, a state of attachment with another individual, which can become so strong emotionally, as to sometimes obtain an obsessive character.
Love is extremely sentimental, and hence 'blind'. Friendship is usually not so. Even while being friends with a person, you do not overlook his or her shortcomings or weaknesses, and actually may even help him get over them. On the other hand, in love there is lesser possibility of your being able to pin-point the weaknesses of the other person - a phenomenon that often leads to disappointment in post wedding married life.
Love and friendship may commonly overlap, yet they are far from being the same.