English French German Portuguese Russian Spanish
You are here Home
PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0

Types of Friends and Friendships


            Friendship is a state connoting a relationship that involves affection, respect, esteem and mutual knowledge between two or more individuals. Therefore, it is a supportive and co-operative mode of co-existence that holds other involved parties in high regard. The value for others in friendship is as a result of consistent demonstrated tendency to be honest, empathetic, sympathetic, mutually understanding and compassionate as well as wishing others all the best. The intimacy degree in friendship is quite higher than that in a normal association though they lie in the same continuum.           Subsequently, the classification of friends and friendship is based on the degree of intimacy and association involved in the relationship between the parties involved. However, according to Aristotle all the resultant groupings have common factors that involve getting on well and some degree of general liking. Aristotle’s categorization of friends in Book 8 of his Nichomachean Ethics is cognizant of three types of friends, whose, basis of classification lies in the motives of the person forming the friendship. These three categories include friendships based on pleasure, utility and the friendship based on the good.

 Types of friends and friendships

            Utilitarian friendship has a very low degree of intimacy and is based on the usefulness of the other person in helping a friend satisfy their needs and desires. Carson states that these relations exist with least or no regard and value for the other party (2007). This type of friendship can be exemplified by the seller consumer relationship whereby, for example, a person takes a shoe for repair at the cobbler. There is some degree of communication and association but, only on a shallow and brief level for the sake of obtaining their service or goods. In modern language the most befitting connotation for this relationship would be an acquaintance-if it involves some memories thereafter. Therefore, unless there is future utilitarian desire for the other the relationship may be counted dead. These types of friendships may have frequent disagreements and differences of opinion because of the fact that every involved party wants to get the best and highest value from the friendship (Irwin & Aristotle, 1999).

             Friendship based on pleasure has its regard and value on pure delight that is obtained while in the company of the involved friends. Sporting partners, fellow drunkards or people that may share common past-time and hobby activities fall in this category of friendship. Therefore, this type of friendship is maintained because of the common interest without which the friendship would cease to exist. This type of relations may be characteristically long or short. This period of the relationship’s existence is determined by the length of time that the friends continue to share the common interest that binds them (Irwin & Aristotle, 1999).

             Friendship referred to as that of the good involves cases whereby there is a high degree of intimacy and each involved party enjoys the character of the other member. This is a relation built and sustained only for the sake of the relation and not for any other ulterior motives. Thus, it always endures and lives on as long as the parties continue maintaining the same character and dedication towards caring for friendship and the involved friend. This can be referred to as the most intimate and highest type of friendship. In modern language it can be referred to as true friendship (Irwin & Aristotle, 1999).


            Conclusively, there are different interests that form the basis of different types of friends and friendships. Subsequently, these friends and friendships can be classified according to interest based categorizations. There is also a possibility for bad and good people to be friends for utilitarian and pleasure purposes. However, it needs only good people to make a friendship based on the good because bad people may find no enjoyment in such a friendship. It is also true to conclude that friendship based on utility and pleasure, more often than not; do not last for longer than those based on the good. However, friendships based on utility and pleasure may change in levels of intimacy and purpose and therefore, become friendships based on the good.


Carson, T. (2007). Friends: You have three types. Viewed at,, on 12th May 2010.

Irwin, T. and Aristotle. (1999). Nicomachean Ethics, 2nd edition translated by Terence, W. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company Incorporation


Trusted Site Seal SSL Certificate Provider SSL