It Is Sometimes Claimed That Friends Have Now Become More Important Than Families Or Kin. Discuss Some Of The Differences Between Family And Friends.

1411 words - 6 pages

Throughout our lives we interact in many and varied relationships. These can range from intense emotional and physical interactions, to casual acquaintances. Our ability to bond, congregate and network within these relationships is not restricted to the family or kin from whom we are born; many are the result of friendships formed within our societal settings.We develop friendship relationships within the work place, sporting activities and shared community interests. The commonality of interest can be in residential status, class, race, gender and religious beliefs. The formation of relationships can have a multitude of meanings and importance to the individual, whether formed with family or friends. So how do the importance of relationships between family and friends differ?According to Baker (2001, p.1) "Our 'personal' decisions and lifestyle 'choices' are influenced in a myriad, often hidden, ways by what happens in the wider world". This suggests that as individuals we need the influence of the outside world to assist in our decision-making processes. However, both family and friendship relationships offer a range of external (social) and internal (private) life networks from which the individual or group can access personal and social knowledge, resources and support.The difference in the level, mannerism and depth of needs attended to by both family and friendship relationships must then be discussed to access the importance of each and the role it plays in the life of the individual and society.Family and Friends 2FriendshipGoerg Simmel (in G. Little, 1993, p.31) saw friendship as pure sociability. Simmell "pictured society as a web of sociability, a subtle balance of delicate exchanges" ... "it was only the name given to the comings and going of human beings, the interchanges that simultaneously link and separate people". Simmel further describes friends as artists, claiming "friends must commit themselves to communicating well, putting all distraction aside".Simmell's description of friendship in society, describes the way in which we communicate in our external lives, separate to that of family or kin relations. The communicative commitment we put into these meetings will depend on the level of interaction desired, given our commonality and interest. Therefore, the formation of friendships is based on the attention given to conversation, how well we communicate and the manner in which we construct our communication. All other encounters are purely polite exchanges of greetings between people we meet externally. Friendly interactions can therefore become an extension of our internal family lives.A case study of social networks conducted by Lyn Richards (in Gilding, 1999, p.121-23) of a Melbourne suburb revealed how "residents constructed a wide variety of relationships with their neighbours". The social exchange of neighbourhood residents extended to sharing equipment and getting to know each other on a more personal basis, allowing...

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