Friendship is a bond that exists between two people who understand each other well. Often they have same interests and trust each other to a great extent. A true friend will help his friend when it becomes necessary at any cost. Study of friendship is done on sociology, anthropology, social psychology and in philosophy.
The main manifestations of friendship are the desire to do things beneficial to the other, sympathy, honesty towards the other even in difficult situations, trust on each other for emotional support when in difficult situations and the ability to express whatever one wants to the other without fear of judgment against himself.
Friendship has been a topic for discussion even in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Aristotle and Plato have discussed the values attached to friendship. In many instances they have described a friend and a lover in the same vein. It was written by Aristotle that a true friend is related to his friend the same way he is related to himself.
Different values are being attributed to friendship in different cultures. In the Near East and the Far East, friendship is more demanding than in the other cultures. They are devoted and respect each other. They will do sacrifices on others behalf when it becomes necessary without considering it as an imposition.
Germans have few friends and also they don’t make friends easily. This appears to people from other cultures as if they are aloof. But they make good friends. The only difference between them and others is that Germans take a long time to make friends with an acquaintance.
In Russia, people have very few friends. Normally between friends they address one another by their first names. Though Russians have fewer friends they have deeper bonds with the ones they have. Though they may have people with whom they share a drink or a meal they are not always considered friends.
In American society, the term is used freely. For them being acquainted with a person a couple of times is enough for the two to become friends. The emergence of social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook also have devalued the term as people make friends through them without even seeing one another. A recent study has shown that Americans have lesser number of friends now. The average number of friends a person has come down from 4 to 2 after 1985. The study also showed that 25% of the Americans do not have true friends.