Friendship: A Journey of Phases or a Lifetime Commitment?

In the words of Samuel Butler, ”Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” The quote captures the fact that it is far easier to find friends than it is to maintain them. Before diving into the topic, let me first define friendship. According to the Oxford dictionary, a friend is “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relationship.” By this definition, one immediately sees that the term is often overused in modern language, especially in social media culture where people may have hundreds or thousands of ‘friends’ online but few genuine, deep connections. In my opinion, I think one of the things that leads to a devaluation of the concept of friendship is this flippant usage of the word with no solid distinction between casual relationships and truly meaningful ones. So, having settled this, should friendships be for a phase or “eternity”?

Who are not friends?

It is important to know that many relationships that play crucial roles in our lives do not automatically qualify as friendships. Friendship is characterized by mutual affection, trust and voluntary companionship. Take parents as an example. They are caregivers, protectors, and guides through life. While a strong, friendly relationship with ones parents is beneficial, it does not inherently make them friends. The parent-child relationship is built on the foundation of authority, responsibility and unconditional love, which is inherently different from mutual, voluntary bond of friendship.

Similarly, siblings, though they may be one’s closest companion, are not friends by default. Siblings’ relationship is often complex, shaped by family dynamics and shared experiences. While  siblings can become friends overtime, their bond is fundamentally different from that of friends  due to familial ties involved.

Classmates and roommates also fall into this category. While you may spend significant time with them, this doesn’t automatically make them your friends. These relationships are often situational, formed out of necessity rather than choice. Genuine friendship in that context requires an additional layer of mutual interest and personal connection beyond the context that brought you together. Understanding who is not a friend helps clarify what true friendship entails. It is a relationship chosen and nurtured voluntarily based on mutual respect, trust, and affection. Knowing this distinction in our lives allows us to appreciate the unique value of each relationship in our lives without conflating them with friendships.

Factors influencing longevity of friendships

Friendships, like other relationships, have factors that influence their duration. I will briefly discuss the role of shared interest, lifestyle changes, communication, and emotional support in the duration of any friendship.

Shared Interests: When friends have common hobbies, goals, or principles, it creates a strong bond that help them stay connected. The shared aspects provide a constant source of conversation, activities, and mutual understanding.

Lifestyle Changes: Life events like moving to new city, getting married, new jobs, etc. can alter the state of a friendship. Friendships that are built on a strong foundation can adapt to these changes despite physical separation, while others usually don’t survive.

Communication: Communication is a constant factor of any relationship. Regular contact helps keep the relationship strong, and a habit of weekly check-ins or regular meeting even when things get hectic increase the bond, which is likely to either intensify or at least remain through long periods.

Friends for a Phase

Some friendships form out of specific contexts and may not last beyond them.  These situational friendships are often seen in schools, work, or shared living situations. Permit me to ask, how many of your secondary school friends are you still in contact with? Situational friendships are often intense and meaningful while they last. However once context changes, such as graduation, job change, etc., these friendships may struggle to survive without daily interactions.

Growing apart is another problem. The strongest of friendships are susceptible to natural drift that occurs as people change and grow. Over time, interest and priority change just like Eren Jaegar shifts from being the protagonist to being the antagonist in Attack on Titans (Japanese anime movie) .

Friends Forever

Some friendships withstand the test of time of time, surviving through various life stages and challenges. This doesn’t happen by luck; it is all a reflection of understanding, readiness to settle issues, mutual growth, among others.

My View

The best thing is to accept the fact that  not all friendships are meant to last, maybe forever.  People grow and change, and sometimes friendships can run their course. Understanding this can prevent unnecessary heartache and allow us to move forward without resentment. The end of a friendship does not diminish the value it had during its time–true friendship, of course. Rather than focusing solely on maintaining the longevity of friendship, it’s vital to appreciate them for the joy and support they provide in the present.


Friendships, whether they are “forever” or in a phase, play a significant role in our lives. While some friendships endures through all of life’s changes, others are temporary but not less meaningful. Understanding the nature of each relationship helps us to value whatever they bring. Embracing the waning nature of some friendships and the enduring quality of others will make us appreciate the role that each plays in our life. Perhaps you come across friends that you know will endure the test of time, don’t sabotage the relationship with the mindset of “friends should be for a phase”. At the same time, don’t waste your energy forcing a friendship where it’s not needed. C’mon! What will happen to your steeze?

Victor Egbinade

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5 thoughts on “Friendship: A Journey of Phases or a Lifetime Commitment?”

  1. Yes, sure…
    As one is open for friendship,at the same time one shouldn’t force it,alot of people out there do not know what friendship entails and that’s why most friendship sinks sooner.
    This is a very good context and an educative one🆙👍🏽

  2. This is a very unique article I must say….
    Very thoughtful and filled with wisdom👍
    I look forward to more from you sir, keep it up Doctor Egbinade🥰

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