How can I approach an essay about the meaning of friendship?

Expert Answers
jpn001 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Friendship may mean different things to different people. Further, we likely have different reasons at different periods in our life for forming friendships.

We may form friendships for solidarity in achieving shared objectives and overcoming shared challenges (as in school or work), as well as for emotional support in our daily lives. Some friendships may be limited in scope, whereas others are parts of many or all aspects of our lives. And some friendships may be of limited duration while others last a lifetime.

Regardless of the reason for forming friendships, the impetus for them is usually some commonality of experience. This differs from our relationships with our family members in many respects as family relationships exist independent of active choice, whereas we choose our friendships. Further, family members may also share a friendship that is apart from their family relationship. This would happen, just like non-familial friendships, when two people have shared experiences and interests.

Another way of looking at friendship is that our friends are the people whom we want to be around even when we are troubled. We find in them emotional support that is different from what we may obtain from our families. They are the people we choose to spend our time with because so doing makes us happier, or at the least more at ease.

Finally, we may also look at friendship as being those people whom we love by choice. We love such people not because we are supposed to love them on account of familial and societal constructs, but for who they are and how we feel when we are around them.

As Louie Armstrong sang in “What a Wonderful World” (written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss):

I see friends shakin' hands

Sayin', "How do you do?"

They're really sayin'

"I love you."