Friendship is a strange and wonderful thing. Over the years, the concept of human friendships has been pondered, picked apart, and even scientifically and psychologically studied. One thing is for certain, life with friends is a whole lot better than life without it. Over the years, various myths and misconceptions about friendship have popped up here and there. These misconceptions can create confusion about what friendship really is and what it’s meant to be. Today, let’s debunk a few of these myths and misconceptions.
15 myths and misconceptions about friendship:
- It’s better to have a lot of friends than just a few.
- Friends have to be in constant contact every day.
- Everyone should have a “best friend”.
- Something must be wrong with you if you have a few (or no) friends.
- Men and women cannot be real friends.
- Good friends never disappoint or let you down.
- Friendship lasts forever.
- You don’t have time for friendship.
- Friendship just happens naturally.
- Having friends is the ultimate source of happiness.
- Friends are obligated to help each other move house.
- Friendship should be easy.
- A good friend drops everything to help you immediately.
- Best friends tell you everything – no secrets.
- Friendships blossom between similar people.
People have their own ideas and beliefs about friendship that aren’t always particularly true. You might find out one day that something you believed about friendship just isn’t accurate. Does that discredit friendship? It shouldn’t! If you’re questioning whether the above beliefs about friendship are really myths or misconceptions, think about it a little deeper. To do that, read on.
Debunking 15 Friendship Myths and Misconceptions
If you have been wondering if what people say/believe about friendship is true, consider the following misconceptions and myths below. Each of these myths and misconceptions has been debunked as simply “not true”. Many of them could also be deemed as “wishful thinking”.
1. It’s better to have a lot of friends than just a few.
While having a big group of friends can be fun, it can’t necessarily be considered better. The concept of friendship is built around bonding and connecting with other people on a deeper level. In a big group of friends, you might not derive the same value as you would from having a handful of friends who you actually talk to on a regular basis and know well.
2. Friends have to be in constant contact every day.
As we get older, we realize that the practicality of this is simply impossible. As contributing members of our communities and adults with lives and responsibilities, being in constant contact with a friend on a daily basis is not necessary. It would become draining and stressful. Friends should certainly keep in touch, but it certainly doesn’t have to be daily.
3. Everyone should have a “best friend”.
A best friend is someone who is singled out as the most important or closest of all of your friends. While many people do have a “best friend”, it is not an essential element to friendship. It is also completely normal to have unique friendships with individuals and feel absolutely no need to deem any one of them a “best” friend.
4. Something must be wrong with you if you have a few (or no) friends.
This can’t be true. Perhaps your lack of friends is situational. Perhaps you live in a remote area, or maybe you are chronically shy and struggle to handle face-to-face conversations. There is nothing “wrong” with you. It just means you might need to handle friendship in a different way. Online friendships or pen-pals might be a better format of friendship for you.
5. Men and women cannot be real friends.
There’s a big misconception out there that a platonic friendship between a man and woman cannot exist. This is not true. Thousands…millions of men and women are friends without having any physical attraction or romantic interest in each other. “Friends” that fail to remain non-physical or emotionally distant in such an attempt at friendship were probably never really just friends, to begin with.
6. Good friends never disappoint or let you down.
Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to expect a friend to be superhuman. People are going to let you down, whether they are a friend, a stranger, a loved one, or a family member. It’s just a fact of life. We are all human, which means we are all fallible.
7. Friendship lasts forever.
Ever heard of BFF? Best friends forever. Well, there’s no sense in placing that sort of pressure on a friendship. A lot of people who become friends at an early age end up going separate ways as they reach their teen years or go off to college. There’s no guarantee that a friendship is going to last a lifetime. If a friendship breaks up or peters out, it doesn’t mean that the friendship was bad…it just means that life took you in different directions.
8. You don’t have time for friendship.
Humans have this weird idea that they “don’t have time” for anything in their lives. Friendship doesn’t have to take up much of your time. Friendship can be a text message in the morning/evening. Friendship can be a cup of coffee for 20 minutes on a Saturday. Friendship can be liking, commenting, and sharing content on social media. The idea that friendship has to take up a lot of your time is also impractical.
9. Friendship just happens naturally.
If you think that friendship is just going to happen to you, you are wrong. Friendship is something that takes intentional effort from both parties in order for it to work. Friendships are like no-romantic, non-physical relationships. You need to put in work to get value out of it.
10. Having friends is the ultimate source of happiness.
If you think that friends are going to make you happy, you are wrong. Happiness is a very personal thing, and in reality, no other person can make you happy. If you aren’t happy, friends can be a great distraction, but they can’t actually make you genuinely happy.
11. Friends are obligated to help each other move house.
You see it depicted in movies all too often…friends helping each other move like it is the most natural thing in the world. Friends are not obligated to help each other move house. Moving is an intensive and highly stressful job. If you need a helping hand, you would be a good friend by hiring professional movers and not placing undue expectations on your friendship.
12. Friendship should be easy.
While friendship should be comfortable, there is no guarantee that it will be easy. When we commit ourselves to other people, we are typically in it for the ride. Some days are hard, and others are fun and easy. It’s not a given that friendship is easy.
13. A good friend drops everything to help you immediately.
It’s always nice if someone is able to drop everything immediately to help you, but that’s not the definition of a good friend. A good friend will be there for you and make himself/herself available as soon as he/she can. Everyone has a lot going on in their lives, and sometimes it’s just not possible to drop everything and be there instantly.
14. Best friends tell you everything – no secrets.
This is one of the oldest misconceptions about friendship of all time. People tend to believe that if you are a best friend, you are not entitled to your own privacy or secrets. That’s not a friendship – that’s control. If you love and trust each other as friends, you have to bear in mind that secrets can be kept – there should be no harm in it. Everyone has their own personal life that they like to keep private. Respect that.
15. Friendships blossom between similar people.
If you meet someone who has a completely different personality and set of interests to you, will that really make for a bad friendship? While similar people might understand each other and enjoy each other’s company, people who are very different can enjoy a similar situation. People who are different from us can be interesting and add a level of excitement to our lives.
All things considered
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what friendship is, simply by debunking some of the common misconceptions and myths about it. Friendship is about being there for someone else, having fun, connecting, and have a “tribe” of your own. If you have good friends, don’t try to impose unrealistic beliefs and myths (as seen above) on them…just enjoy them instead.