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Psychology of friendship

There are, typically, three types of lasting, intimate relationships: family, friends, and spouses. Some people never marry, some have no family due to being orphaned or broken bonds, yet, everyone claims to have had or still have friends. Even the most severely mentally ill have imaginary friends. Some children’s first friends are imaginary.

What does this say about friendship? Friendship is a deep, personal experience. It’s not the Facebook type of friendship, it’s that enduring bond you have with someone outside of family and marriage. The Japanese have a word for this, kenzoku. This word means “family”. Kenzoku means the bond and kindred spirit of two people that sometimes does not happen through blood ties.

How does one find their kenzoku? It can happen with just a simple experience shared such as work or school. Two moms can meet at the park or someone can move in next door. Having one or more kenzoku helps people live better lives physically and mentally. According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic, friendship increases one’s sense of belonging, self-worth, and happiness. They help guide you through divorce, death of a loved one, depression, and loneliness. They’re also your biggest supporters.

One can have hundreds of Facebook friends but it’s those few, test-of-time friends that really do the most good. A true friend is one that wants the best for you and doesn’t mind a 2:00 am phone call even if they haven’t heard from you in months.

Making friends, for some people, is hard work and maintaining those bonds can prove harder. Even the closest of friends hit rough patches but for one’s physical and mental well-being it’s good to have a true friend by your side.