A group of people from different backgrounds holding up Friendship.
A group of people from different backgrounds holding up Friendship.

A group of people from different backgrounds holding up Friendship.

Love is an important aspect of life. However, society often neglects the love of friendship (philia) by preferring romantic love (eros). Society elevates romantic love with a nationally recognized holiday, Valentine’s Day, but fails to recognize Friendship Day. Friends and community are vital, whether married or single, because “Man is by nature a social animal” (Aristotle, Politics, 1.1253a). For this reason, it is essential to have friends and to invest in friendship. Singles should be aware of the different levels of friendship and decide which type of friend to invest time and effort when developing and maintaining friendships.

You and the levels of friendship.

You and the levels of friendship.

There are four general levels of friendship: acquaintances, casual friends, close friends, and best friends. Robin Dunbar was the anthropologist and psychologist who arrived at the maximum social group that an individual can keep. An acquaintance is someone that you know slightly, but not well enough to be called a friend. Casual friends are people who you know and would invite to a large event or party. Dubar found that someone’s casual friends group could range from one hundred to two hundred, depending on how social a person is. The next level was close friends that is around fifty people. Within that group of fifty, there will be a smaller group of fifteen that you will talk with on a more routine basis and will turn to for support when problems or something good happens in life. The final group is made up of five people and these are best friends. This smallest group is often made up of your closest and best friends along with family members. These various types of friendship are important for singles and for society because it develops intimacy between friends and people.

In the age of social media where you can easily have more than two hundred friends, it is important to be able to relate and to actually know our friends. This means knowing the things that they enjoy, their birthday, and their life goals. The level of intimacy and knowledge of your friends as a single person will go deeper for each of the four levels of Robin Dunbar’s social groups. The human race, and the single and unmarried, are social animals by nature. As social animals, it is important to have friends and to decide which friendships to invest time and effort in as singles.

Friends hanging out in bar.

Friends hanging out in a bar.

Society too often trivializes, or worse neglects, friendship by placing romantic and erotic love on a pedestal. Start to spend time with friends outside of Facebook and other social media and start a conversation with someone at your local bar or your favorite hang out spot. Friendship and social connection is an essential part of humanity. This indirectly harms individuals and society as a whole. It is important for singles and the unmarried to spend time with friends and to decide which friendship to grow and maintain in life.

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James Bollen is the Founder and President of Secure Single. He is an entrepreneur and a content creator with the goal of helping all different types of singles to learn to thrive as a single person.
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