The struggle is real, but denial doesn’t help
Friendship vs relationship is one of those apples or oranges debates that we crave talking about. Sure, you can go ahead and deny that you are better off without friendship. I have been there. I dare say you have been there, too, at one point or another in life. How about relationship? Haven’t we all coaxed ourselves into believing that we are better off without relationship when we got hurt? Well, quite a lot of ego annihilation has been spared throughout human history thanks to this tiny little lie, but at the end of the day, it is what it is — a lie.
Friendship and relationship have played a central role in human history since the day humans realized they are human. They are a big part of our emotional health. However, most people do not benefit from the full potential of these two pillars of happiness because they are taken at face value. For example, ask anyone about the difference between friendship and relationship and they will tell you it is ”love making”, which only scratches the surface of what it is all really about – the exact opposite of what we are going to do today.
Table of contents
In this article, we will tear friendship and relationship concepts piece by piece. We will examine:
- What friendship and relationship mean
- The subtle differences between them
- Which one is more important than the other
- Tips on how to avoid choosing one over the other
- Tips on what to do if you have to choose
- The Taken For Granted’s special touch on the subject
Let’s jump right in!
What friendship and relationship mean
Same definition, different expectation
Friendship and relationship should not be put in different baskets because they both stream from caring deeply about someone . The only reason most of us do so is due to the physical intimacy associated with relationship. However, if this is what separates friendship from relationship, there should be no difference between friends with benefits and relationship.
Relationship is different because it comes with different expectations. You expect relationship to last forever.
Why expectations are different
Growing up changes you
Shouldn’t friendship last forever, too? We believe it should, but unconsciously, we really don’t. Deep down, we know there comes a time when friends have to go their separate ways or lose touch. Friends are not going to live with you. They are going to have less and less time for you as their adult responsibilities start piling up — it is life.
You spend more time on relationship than on friendship
Doesn’t relationship end, too? The light of relationship can be as sadly extinguished as that of friendship; but again, at the end of the day, you go home, not your friend’s home. The amount of time you spend somewhere also plays a big part in why the scales of durability tilt towards relationship. It is part of becoming an adult.
New work-life balance creates different demands
Maybe you had more time to spend with friends when you went to school, but when you get a job and and have more responsibilities to worry about, all you think about after your finish your shift is go home, knowing full well that your lover will be there for you to prove you; every time, that life is more romantic than working 8 hours a day everyday for some bread crumbs. Your lover will always be there for you, you hope — does life have to be so cruel? Is the nature of relationship and friendship doomed?
Here is the good news, no. It doesn’t always have to be like that.
Either friendship or relationship: is it inevitable?
People end up keeping either friendship or relationship, but not both (or worse, losing both) because they are rarely strategic about their social lives. To achieve your full potential, you not only have to find the right friends and partners but also create enough harmony between them. This cannot be achieved without the right timing and educated decisions.
What does this all mean?
If all of this sounds overwhelming to you, don’t fret! We are going to deal with this step-by-step and provide real-life friendship vs relationship examples in the next section.
Do you have to choose between friendship or relationship?
For clarification purposes, we will further break friendship vs relationship into smaller categories:
- short term friendship vs long term relationship
- long term friendship vs short term relationship
- opposite sex friendship vs long term relationship.
- long term friendship vs long term relationship
We will define, compare, and evaluate all of the above types of relationships in order to make informed decisions that lead to the ideal social life, creating lasting harmony for you and your loved ones.
Short term friendship vs long term relationship
A short term friend is not someone you have not known for long, no. It is someone you do not really feel a strong connection to, and therefore the possibility of staying in touch for a long time, let alone forever, is quite slim.
Short term friendship is not harmful. On the contrary, it can bring some needed change to the what-can-sometimes-be boring familiarity of life. Maybe you meet for a drink from time to time and it can be fun, but it starts at the bar, and ends at the bar.
It starts being hamrful when you put ”fun” above someone who probably needs it as much as you do, your long term partner. Your attitude is wrong. You are sacrificing your stable, long term relationship for something as fickle as fun with ”a friend” who does not really have your best interest in mind.
For example, you go for the drinking instead of spending more time with partner, who has been there for you for months, or even years. Don’t ever do this. If this starts to happen too often, ditch your short term friend. Otherwise, you will lose your long term partner, and later on, you will probably lose the one who did not really matter, too.
Long term friendship vs short term relationship
We all know how exciting it is to meet that special one. If you start seeing a significant other, do not do it at the expense of a long standing, hard earned friendship. If your friend has been there for you for a long time and supported you every time you were in need, put him or her first. Do not substitute your friend for warmer bed sheets for a night or two.
If the significant other is significant enough to be worthy of your trust and long-lasting commitment, introduce him or her to your long term friend as soon as possible. Make the people you care about feel they are part of a family, not part of some twisted contest in which they are vying for your attention. Otherwise, the outcome will be the same – losing your friendship, relationship, or both.
Opposite sex friendship vs relationship
Assuming you are a male and straight like the author of this article, it is safe to say that not all friendships threaten the stability of relationships equally. The case cannot be vice versa because a female friend or male friend will not feel jealous if you are seeing a potential partner – again, as long as the potential partner does not ask you, for example, to stop seeing your long term female friend. The family approach stated in the previous section prevents friendship vs relationship disputes.
Not to digress any further, under normal circumstances, making friends with opposite sex should not be a problem. However, it starts becoming a problem when you start taking your long term relationship for granted. How do you think it sounds when you often, maybe too often without you realizing it, go for a drink with an attractive female ”co-worker” instead of going to bed early with your partner? Would it sound as bad if you did that with a male co-worker instead?
Some righteous jealousy on your partner’s part is enough to make cracks in your serious relationship, but suspicion will shatter the whole window.
Long term friendship vs long term relationship
This is the ideal situation you want to be in; when you are blessed with both a long term friend and a long term partner. As stated earlier, make sure you introduce both to one another as soon as possible. Doing this early on will save you a lot of potential problems.
When you have two loyal angels on both sides, you will be happier. Even better, if your long term friend has a significant other, the four of you can go on picnics, double dates, or other activities that cement the longevity of the beautiful family.
When misunderstandings arise, which is part and parcel of any type of relationship, always keep the window of communication between all of you open. Be honest and always open the door of vulnerability to your loved ones. Rest assured that they will not hurt you after you open up because, after all, they love you even while they are mad at you.
The dust always settles eventually because you know you are a family, but don’t take misunderstandings lightly and shrug them off.
Remember, you are always inviting catastrophe when you start taking what you have for granted.
The Taken For Granted’s special touch on the subject
Embrace the happiness of harmonious difference
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Relationship vs friendship is a comparison that should not exist and a battle that need not be fought. It is not a matter of what kind, but how strong the bond is between the individuals concerned. It is not a matter of type, but of intensity. One long term friendship or relationship is better than a thousand short term friendships or nights’ sales on warmer bed sheets.
White rose, red rose
While friendship and relationtionship do not oppose each other, they do complement one another. We do need both because we humans crave variety. After all, variety is the spice of life. Flowers come in various colours and grow in different lands. if we confine ourselves to a certain kind, the colour will not look as interesting as it would if it were contrasted with another colour of a different kind.
Friendship is a white rose; relationship is a red rose. The colour doesn’t change the fact they are both roses.
The white and red complement each other in the big picture: difference leads to harmony when we are self-aware.
It is fine to be alone until you find the right friendship and relationship
Society deems a lot of fallacies as truths. One of those fallacies is that there must be something wrong with you if you are alone or prefer to be alone. People are born different. Not all of us like to hang around others for a long time, which comes naturally to introverts. How can you love yourself when you are constantly busy trying to win the love and approval of people you barely know?
Love yourself so you can love others
Love yourself first and foremost. Only then will you be able to offer real love for your friend or partner. How can you love yourself? Believe in yourself and your morals. Do not pretend you like to hang around people you barely appreciate just to appear social. It will eat you up from the inside and amplify the feelings of solitude. You do not have to be social to be ”good”. You were born with inherent worth and we were all born in the same way. I have never seen anyone coming out of his or her mother’s womb doing a somersault, have you?
Shine so they can find you
Never let your desire for true friendship and relationship feed on your self-love. The people you feel truly comfortable with are out there. It is worth the wait. When you believe in certain values and morals and consistently act them out in the world, you may end up losing a lot of people – for the better. You are automatically sifting friends or partners who would not stick anyway, but you will eventually find your family. It may not be fast, but it will come. As long as you love yourself first, and behave true to yourself in the world, they will find you.
What do you think of friendship vs relationship? Do you believe there are any other differences between the two? What is your experience with both? Is it a good experience or bad experience? Is one ”better” than the other?
Please share what you think in the comments below! Thanks for reading!