I intend this post to be just my brief reflection on the particular line in friendship that is a popular theme in many a modern short romance novel. The line that is between ‘friendship’ and a very special relationship. We have all heard of that line before, and possibly if not likely ways to avoid crossing it. Beyond Friendship is very dangerous and somehow not recommended, it seems. So I wish to explore the area near this line.
A necessity leading up to my discourse is a disclaimer: the friendship we talk of here is the kind Aristotle phrases as one in which the parties seek the good of the other party; one which exists purely for the sake of each other; one which is developed in spending time with each other. (compare/contrast with the friendships of advantage and passion, if I’m not wrong).
I have previously made a very simple reiteration of a good way of conveying the line across, it is this: friendship is time to get to do something, but the special relationship is time to get to know the other party – this definition works in part only though. As a result we could use this definition in part. Which is not to say a special relationship cannot also be a friendship. It is possible but there is great overshadowing of the friend element and more of the bf/gf element here. I am often curious about the symptoms of approaching the line (and therefore antisymptoms that indicate the line will never be reached). I’ll start here.
Does it makes sense to try to explain away a special relationship by delving into logical symptoms? Because I am hardly interested in saying things like heart-fluttering and a blank mind (with reference to my post on romance). It simply doesn’t suffice to say these symptoms mean anything. Moreover by approaching the special relationship through this ‘friendship pathway’, most people are vaguely if not very aware of the absence of this when approaching the line. It is unreliable and likely does not apply to this pathway, so I will look more at the theories regarding either side of the line.
Goal and Experience on a Continuum
Friendship can be viewed as a relationship with attention to being interested in the other party’s good, plus one’s own good. This is not my idea, of course. Then the special relationship is paying attention, mainly, to the other party, plus oneself. Therefore taking the two onto a continuum, a progressive symptom is expressed as a changing focus from the good of that person to the person, or one’s own good to oneself. In another sense it is also driving inward from an activity, to its nature and its impact, then to the agent or beneficiary. Like if you would watch a movie with a friend, it is an activity with a more prominent goal of knowing the contents of the movie, or the experience of the activity itself (including emotions like thrill/sadness). But as this shifts inwards, the increasing goal is to grow closer to the person, and the experience of the company (emotions of ease, comfort, joy, excitement even). The important fact is that being a continuum, friendship and a special relationship are not mutually exclusive, meaning the goal and experience of one relationship will be similar to the other, just that one pair of goal/experience remains dominant.
Concept of Future and Past
I also thought about how the future of each relationship appears to those involved. That is, how the members of the relationship think of or regard the future of the relationship. I refer to a number of things – more of this in my post on romance, but briefly, two things. What can happen in the future? and, How will the things that happen in the future be like? The first question holds more mystery than the second; the latter holds more anticipation than the former. It is thus a brief statement that I make about this concept of future: as a friendship tends towards the line, the questions about the future of the relationship move away from the latter and more towards the former, as there is a greater cloud of mystery surrounding what used to be a well-defined boundary, plan for the future, certainty of what will take place diminishes rapidly.
The past also provides more insight as to how the members view the future of the relationship. The past is a jar of growth for a healthy friendship, firstly. The members are able to look at the past events and reflect on the goal/impact of each event/experience. Since ‘growth’ is used, the idea of drawing closer to the other party and understanding him/her better is implied. This results in a stronger friendship that takes delight in mutual experiences. The key is if any pattern is observed. We can note that a growing friendship does not imply ever moving towards the line, as it depends on the trend of impacts of each interaction. If the constantly dominant goal is the time spent in benefitting each other, then there is stability. However, the same goal that is observed to be losing its dominance to the goal of being with that person can be said to be tending towards the line. Thus the past provides an retrospective lens for observing trends.
I might be thinking harder about it so I might come up with better stuff than this…