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What Is Friendship

Friendship is one of the oldest phenomena in our life. However, the modern world of technologies and innovations leaves less space for real friendship and many people do not even know how to make real friends.

Friendship lifts hearts and lengthens lives. It has been hailed as the eventual good by the greatest philosophers, promoted (at least in theory) by all the chief religions and deified by revolutionaries. It even defeats the common cold. The wondrous good in question is friendship. Aristotle's highest goal for men and the third plank of the French revolution - liberty, equality, union - friendship is as old as humanity and as important as love or justice. But while the shelves in one part of the bookshop groan with self-help books on how to snag the ideal partner, and others (usually in the basement) are packed with economic treatises on income distribution and philosophical texts on the character of freedom, friendship barely gets a mention.

While the declaration that "friends are the new family" is an exaggeration, it is certainly the case that friendships figure prominently in both the lives people actually lead and the ones to which they aspire. Television programmes such as Friends and Sex and the City portray a world in which close friendships describe the contours of the participants' lives: parents and children are allowed, at best, walk-on parts. One school of social science sees the emergence of "families of choice", with networks of friends supplanting blood ties. We have parents and siblings; we make friends.

In fact, blood ties remain as tough as ever. Data from the official Social Trends series shows that family is as much the first port of call for maintainance in times of crisis as it was three decades ago. What does seem to be happening is some blurring of the lines between friends and family, what Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl call a "suffusion" of friend and family in their approaching Friendship: the one good thing?. Friendship is not always an unalloyed good, the benefits of friendship are unevenly spread and the impact of friendship on traditional objectives of the centre left, such as parity, diversity and mobilityHealth Fitness Articles, is mixed.

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