My best friends sister likes me

"Friendship is like love"

How would you define friendship?

Friendship is like love. Friendships can be just as strong, passionate, intense, lasting, deep, and intimate as love relationships. The only difference is that there is no sexuality in a friendship. That doesn't rule out temporary desire. But love in friendship is about something other than sex. A friend is neither a partner nor a buddy, but a person with whom we share something, something very special, deep, authentic and personal. Just like falling in love, friendship can also be formed “at first sight”. And the same applies to the end of friendship, which is often accompanied by great pain. Friendships can also come about much more slowly: If we spend time with someone on a regular basis and gradually become aware that we really like them.

So isn't a friendly relationship the same thing as dating a buddy?

Exactly, these are different relationships. Pals or colleagues are people with whom we feel good and who we find pleasant in a group. But these relationships remain superficial and depend on the external circumstances: You meet in a sports club or at work. We usually show ourselves at our best with these people. With friends, on the other hand, we can act as we are and talk about our doubts and concerns. With friendships, the relationship is more intimate. A friend is someone we can call in the middle of the night when we have a big problem. There is something familiar about friendships. Our friends are like brothers and sisters with whom we are not genetically, but connected through the heart. They provide real support at key moments in our lives. When making important decisions, friends often give more respectful advice than relatives, because they may be interested in exerting pressure in one direction or the other - even unconsciously. Real friends can live far away from each other. Even if you rarely meet, it always seems like you had last seen each other the night before. You can talk to real friends about anything: about sex, the children or about health problems.

In your book you use the term “tomber en amitié”. In analogy to “falling in love” one could translate it as “making friends”. Where does this expression come from?
I was inspired by the Canadians who speak of “tomber en amour”. Friendship is something that suddenly appears: it is the pleasant feeling of being with someone who suits us and understands us. First of all, you feel like talking to this person or doing something with them. Regardless of whether it is a friendship or a love affair, the attraction is always present. The two types of relationships are not the same, but there are strong emotions involved in both cases.

“Equal and equal like to join together,” they say. Do we make friends with similar people?
I don't think so, although a US study with students came to this conclusion. As we study, we may tend to approach people who are similar to us because they help us achieve our goals. But I have found that our best friends are very different from us. They can practice a different religion, have different political ideas and even come from a different social milieu.

Can you make friends with your worst enemy?
You can also make friends after conflicts, differences of opinion, arguments, arguments and debates. The encounter - regardless of whether it takes place at work, in sport or in politics - is only then a confrontation. The conflict is often very strong. But admiration can arise from the fact that the other has opposed it in an honest and benevolent way. This creates mutual respect for the courage and ability of the other to defend his ideas and to protect oneself. After a conflict, very strong and reliable friendships can develop, because there is no hypocrisy: the other has already shown himself to be vulnerable.

Is It Possible To Live Without Friends?
No, I don't think we can live without friendship. Children make their first friendships in daycare. Friendships develop under the most dire circumstances, such as in war and on the run. There are also wonderful friendships that are made in old people's homes and in the palliative care departments of hospitals. The human heart has no age, so you can make friends at any age.

Are there phases in life when friendships are particularly important?
I have already asked myself this question, but have not yet found a definitive answer. I do not think so. Friendship is important in all phases of our life. However, it may be that it is particularly important in difficult times. In phases of grief or illness, some people need friendship, they have to be able to rely on someone in order not to feel alone with the difficulties. When we are more vulnerable, we realize much more that friendship is essential to us.