I’m just thrilled to have the incredibly romantic duo of Chris and Laura from Two INFPs with us for four articles on Love. In the second of their series on the Greek types of love (storge, philia, eros, & agape), today Laura takes a closer look at phila.
A couple years ago, I lost a friend who I thought would always be an important person in my life. Our friendship ended for various reasons, many of which I still don’t understand. One reason, however, is forever burned into my mind as a lesson. The entire altercation was set into motion because I hadn’t spent time with her in weeks; I solely focused on my studies in preparation for graduation and didn’t even take the time to simply say hello.
Once I finally reached out to my friend, I found that she’d been stewing about our relationship during my absence, and she ended our friendship before I even knew what was going on. While not spending time with her wasn’t the direct cause, I do believe that we’d probably be friends to this day, had I made time for our friendship despite my busyness; I could have caught her negative feelings about the friendship earlier and laid them to rest before they had time to fester.
But alas, hindsight truly is 20/20; and I’ve taken my mistake as a lesson: it’s incredibly important to regularly find time for friends, even when it seems like there’s no time to spare.
And why is it so important? Spending time with friends isn’t just essential to maintaining relationships; it’s also key to maintaining your own happiness.
When I lost my best friend, I felt incredibly upset about it—even depressed at times—for about a year afterward. During that time, I researched happiness, hoping to pull myself out of a funk (and I was successful, thankfully!). A TED talk I found incredibly helpful during this time was by Brené Brown, who researched the difference between happy and unhappy people. (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html )
I won’t completely spoil it for those interested in watching the video (which is incredible, I might add), but essentially, Brown found that a determining factor in a person’s happiness is whether or not they allow themselves to be vulnerable to others, because vulnerability allows close relationships to form and thrive.
Interesting as the vulnerability factor is, what I found most helpful about Brené Brown’s findings was how incredibly important close relationships are to happiness. I delved deeper into research about relationships and happiness, and discovered that philia (the ancient Greek word for friendship love) is an emotional need for human beings. As Aristotle put it, “No one would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other goods.”
At the time, I no longer had any close friends. No wonder I often felt down! Since then, I’ve made an effort to reach out to others and to be more extroverted with my friendliness. It’s resulted in gaining a couple friends Chris and I often go to dinner and exchange favors with, befriending a few awesome bloggers, and becoming closer to an acquaintance I’m especially fond of. And let me tell you, I’m much happier for it.
So, if happiness is what you want, never underestimate the power of a good friend or two. Sure, friendship requires time and a little vulnerability…but it’s entirely worth it.
Laura shares writing duties with her other half, Christopher Thomas, for their blog Two INFPs. INFPs are one of Myers-Briggs personality types & are often referred to as the Romantics. Together, their mission is to inspire others to cultivate blissful, easy relationships via no-nonsense relationship advice and tips for finding an incredible partner. You can also find them on Twitter andFacebook