Friendship: The Purest Form of Love
Photographed by Cassidy Palmateer of Sophie Dehn and Joelle Beauchamp
By Jordyn Damato
Love takes a lot of different shapes and fills everyone’s lives differently, but there is one form of love that is often overlooked in our society today when it should not be and that is love in the shape of friendship.
Of course familial love is important, albeit complicated and overwhelming, as well as romantic relationships, but the genuine love between friends who care deeply for one another is a form of love that is not recognized or appreciated as widely as it should be. This is not to say that friend-love cannot be complicated or overwhelming, because we all know it can be, and truthfully, not every friendship is a great one, so it’s important to closely examine every relationship in your life—especially friendships.
How to tell if you have a good friend is simple: do you enjoy spending time with them? Do they uplift you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself, if not better? Can you trust them with anything? Answering ‘yes’ to these questions is a great sign you have great friends and should keep them close.
Another great aspect of friendship that is different from other forms of love is that you can have an abundance of them! A true friend is someone who does not mind that you have other friends to spend time with and encourages you to be your own person in the process. A true friend is not a jealous or territorial friend, like lovers often can be, which is one of the many benefits of having good, close friends.
The beauty of having a wide variety of friendships is that true friendships are like snowflakes: no two are the same! Think about the friendships in your life, whether you have two or twenty, these relationships might be similar in the sense that you love and cherish them, but your relationship and interactions as a whole are undeniably different. There is no better feeling than having a friend you can turn to for your different interests. It’s unrealistic to assume one of your friends will have exactly the same passions as you, but it’s a joy to realize that all of your friendships combined encapsulate everything you care most about in the world.
Due to our society growing up watching shows like Hannah Montana or Drake and Josh, it seems like it has been instilled in our minds that we are only allowed to have one “true” best friend, and everyone else are mere placeholders. Along with the fact that everyone desires to feel loved in one way or another, our human instinct is to seek a companion that will complete us in the ways we think we need them to. So it seems our society grew up with the notion you should have One Best Friend and One Lover because that is what works for everyone on television, but we forget how unrealistic that is. Not only that, but how lonely that expectation can feel.
So here is the gist: fall in love with your friends. All of them. In big and little ways, realize that your friends are your found family, and should be the most comfortable relationship in your life. Problems navigating family and romantic relationships are expected, but friendship is not something that should be a struggle if you are doing it right. The best way to avoid conflict with your friends is by being the type of friend you want to have: listen to them, spend quality time, and let them know you appreciate them. By being a good friend, you will naturally have good friends in return.
All in all, love exists around every corner, whether we are aware of it or not, so it's crucial to recognize the relationships in your life that make you happiest. It’s easy to forget the value our friends have because we have had these relationships for years, maybe we see them daily, or they are not your significant other, but that is all the more reason you should express your gratitude for these people that fill your life. Have you ever heard of the saying that we are most like the five people that we spend the most time with? Think about those five people. Now, if you smiled, pick up your phone and tell them you love them.