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Having a friend='commitment'?

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Dear all,

My father mentioned today after I asked to go to a family friend's house that 'she has other commitments to other friends, not just you' (or something to that effect).

I personally disagree with this statement - being 'friends' means trusting each other enough to be together in spirit, as opposed to constantly having to see each other or communicate with each other (which may be due to reasons like school, work, geographical distance etc).

In other words, a true friend would not leave you just because you do not make a conscious effort or 'committed' to talking to them and/or meeting them ALL the time.

Let us take what I call an antonym of friendship: work. Work is a commitment in which colleagues must communicate regularly to achieve a common goal.

So, my question to you is:

Is friendship a commitment?

What are your experiences with this notion?

Do you think it depends on the friend's personality?

What are your general thoughts?

Of course it depends on one's definition of 'commitment' - so I would like to hear yours. :)

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To be perfectly honest, imo - this is based on gender. Males are very easygoing, and I have never been "committed" to any of my male friends, nor them to me, not even when it's with really close male friends - there seem to be no expectations, nor commitments. I do tend to be a *little* committed to closer female friends, i.e. make them stop being sad for whatever reason. I guess commitment in a relationship (specifically, friendship) applies more to emotionally dependent people, something which males are usually not.

I can only speculate that females are more committed to their female friends, for the similar aforementioned reason, and thus are compelled to be similarly committed to their male friends, which creates an interesting cycle.

Or my life is totally wrong. Take your pick.

Edited by unicornication

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I would never consider friendship a "commitment" of any sort. If it started to feel that way then I would reevaluate that friendship altogether. My friends understand that I'm a workaholic and that I often disappear for months on end. I may not speak to them nor be a constant presence in their lives, but that's just who I am and they know me enough to accept that about me and love me anyway. If ever that becomes too much for them (which has happened on certain occasions with previous friends) then those friendships die out as they are wont to do.

You've probably heard people say that they've "committed to each other" but this is usually in a romantic sense, or being "committed" in a professional sense such as being honour-bound by contract for example. You never hear "committed to this friendship." Being friends means that you choose each other because you actually like each others' company but withhold the prerogative to end your time together whenever or if ever that mutual desire to enjoy each others' company no longer persists. It's really that simple.

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I make sure that I am there for my friends if they ever need me, but we all have a general understanding that words are not always needed every single day to stay in touch; sometimes we just have other things to do and may not see each other for a while. A commitment feels too obligatory, whereas my relationship with people tends to lean more towards casualness. Besides, entertaining people with conversations is exhausting at times when I'd rather be working. I think if your friends really are your friends, they will understand your goals, intentions, and endeavors in a way that will not damage their friendship with you.

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To be perfectly honest, imo - this is based on gender. Males are very easygoing, and I have never been "committed" to any of my male friends, nor them to me, not even when it's with really close male friends - there seem to be no expectations, nor commitments. I do tend to be a *little* committed to closer female friends, i.e. make them stop being sad for whatever reason. I guess commitment in a relationship (specifically, friendship) applies more to emotionally dependent people, something which males are usually not.

I can only speculate that females are more committed to their female friends, for the similar aforementioned reason, and thus are compelled to be similarly committed to their male friends, which creates an interesting cycle.

Or my life is totally wrong. Take your pick.

That is a very interesting perspective, thank you for that! I think I would agree - one is more likely to see a group of female friends together in public places (cinema, malls etc,) than a group of male friends. That is only my observation.

And there is no 'wrong life' in my opinion; only different ones!

I would never consider friendship a "commitment" of any sort. If it started to feel that way then I would reevaluate that friendship altogether. My friends understand that I'm a workaholic and that I often disappear for months on end. I may not speak to them nor be a constant presence in their lives, but that's just who I am and they know me enough to accept that about me and love me anyway. If ever that becomes too much for them (which has happened on certain occasions with previous friends) then those friendships die out as they are wont to do.

You've probably heard people say that they've "committed to each other" but this is usually in a romantic sense, or being "committed" in a professional sense such as being honour-bound by contract for example. You never hear "committed to this friendship." Being friends means that you choose each other because you actually like each others' company but withhold the prerogative to end your time together whenever or if ever that mutual desire to enjoy each others' company no longer persists. It's really that simple.

Very well said Arrowhead! The very definition of one's 'friend' is somebody who trusts and accepts one for the way one is. Friends are not trees that you need to be committed to looking after and watering - friends are like Grow your own Magic Crystal Trees (http://www.instructables.com/id/Grow-your-own-Magic-Crystal-Tree-or-any-other-sha/) that will effortlessly blossom and stay true for you no matter what. :flirt:

I make sure that I am there for my friends if they ever need me, but we all have a general understanding that words are not always needed every single day to stay in touch; sometimes we just have other things to do and may not see each other for a while. A commitment feels too obligatory, whereas my relationship with people tends to lean more towards casualness. Besides, entertaining people with conversations is exhausting at times when I'd rather be working. I think if your friends really are your friends, they will understand your goals, intentions, and endeavors in a way that will not damage their friendship with you.

I can definitely relate to that, IBidiot, good on you! Sometimes I think I have lost my friends when I push them away in my pursuit for decent school grades etc. but somehow they seem to bounce back and never really get offended. :)

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I have very strong relationships with friends, but I do not feel obliged to talk to any of them.

I merely talk to my friends because I want to, not because I have to.

Also, if we were obliged to show commitment towards our friends once we were "friends", then there would inevitably come the awkward question of: "Are we friends?" or "Define friend"

Otherwise we'd be unable to know exactly when to show this "commitment"

It's not like I ask people: "Will you be my friend?" or "let's be friends from now on; and show continuous, regular, and everlasting commitment to each other", it just kind of "happens" like most relationships between people.

One of my best friends moved away to another country some time ago but we're still the best of buddies. However, due to his being "very far away" and me being unable to see him, we don't communicate very often. Still, when we meet up we're like brothers. I haven't been able to show much "commitment" towards my very good friend, but he stays my very good friend.

So I'm obviously fully in support of your views buddy. :)

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