The topic friendship is a wide field that has many definitions particularly in the social aspect. It has attracted great attention in contemporary times among sociologists and psychologists. Various models have thereby been invented to explore this vast field. Friendship is among the precious gifts life offers. A person with real friends is lucky since friendship makes life an exciting experience. Friendship is clearly a choice in life since the type of friends we choose can either lead us to doom or success. It all depends on the choices we make. Without friends life would indeed be incomplete.
Friendship occurs only in the event that there is trust liking and knowing. In true friendship there is love caring and sharing. It arouses a strong feeling that someone is liked and appreciated the way they are. True friends stand the test of time, through thick and thin and without boundaries or religion, sex or race. Humans are social beings and friendship being essential, humans cannot live alone. They need people who understand their problems and with whom they can share their joy and sorrows.
There must be therefore caution in selecting friends since in many wrong paths people are led by friends.
Many things are necessary to make friendship happen. Although there exists virtual friendship in contemporary times, for instance, friendship over the internet, contact is essential to develop true friendship trust and bonding.
It is debatable though whether virtual friendship is real and whether it can lead to strong ties as compared to what many sociologists term ‘traditional’ friendship. This is open to interpretation since people can meet over and later meet one on one to enhance their friendship.
Trust and bonding are essential in developing social capital among friends. There has been however little research based on social capital among close friends. Social capital is explored as the trust shared among mutual friends in many interconnected networks. The type of social bonding among close friends can be depicted as bonding social capital.
Bonding social capital is further defined as social capital integrated and cemented in a homogenous setting such as a family or a group of friends in an interconnected network which may here be described as a multi-stranded network in which all friends are mutual. In this view the bonding is not centered on one individual but rather an interconnected network in which mutual friends develop trust and norms since the norms are easily developed and integrated in such a closed network.
Research based on evidence suggests that there is a significantly greater likelihood of individuals who are more trusting to develop and engage in social activities compared to people who develop less trust. This arouses a feeling of charity and volunteering. In this effect voluntary activities are most likely to develop in case there is trust among individuals. In volunteering, the individual seeks to fulfill his needs or those of others without necessarily seeking individual financial gain. Voluntary associations are a major provider of social welfare including education and recreation.
There seems to be two types of participation in a voluntary activity; passive and active. A good example is the emerging trend in the United States and most western countries in which social welfare is attended virtually. Members send in donations but are missing in person. This can be viewed as being absent from the event since there is no face to face contact which is essential in cultivating trust hence social capital and bonding.
Active participation is important in development of social welfare as well as providing avenues for people to meet and develop social ties
Generalized social capital is yet another aspect which is social capital extended to other people for instance neighbors and even strangers. This is based on generalized trust that may exist among individuals who are either strangers or are neighbors who develop a general feeling of trust.
It is suggested that high friendship social capital is associated with increasing generalized social capital, an observation that has led to encouraging of friendship social capital among young individuals in a bid to improve social welfare and be of benefit to the society. This will then strongly suggest that those individuals who develop social capital among their friends are more likely to extend their trust to people they meet later on in life.
Whether virtual friendship is genuine friendship or not is a topic that is debatable especially with emerging ways of communication in contemporary times. However it is not comparable to traditional friendship in many aspects in that many individuals are conservative to the latter kind of friendship and are more likely to develop trust in traditional friendship.
Online social interaction has evolved over the years from using the internet for social organizations to becoming a basic form of interaction among people worldwide. This has basically turned the world to the cliché ‘global village’. However, the increasing use of social networking for interaction has exposed many individuals to the dangers of hacking, compromising of privacy among other factors that may seem unfavorable. This has not shaken internet users as many of them continue using the internet and spending a lot of their time online.
Social internet sites are not an avenue to decent and genuine friendship contrary to the opinion of most internet users. Based on Aristotelian principle of friendship, virtual friendship is regarded as the low end and less important as compared to what has been described as traditional friendship in which there is actual contact. This means that, in traditional friendship, individuals learn to develop trust and are less likely to fall victim of fraudulent relationships.
As much as social interaction sites provide an avenue for meeting new people and developing virtual ties, it may in fact be retrogressive and lead to isolation since internet users are often glued to their keyboards looking for virtual friends whom in real sense may not exist. There could be a situation in which a user develops multiple internet accounts and poses as different people. Such constant internet users may fall victim of these non-existent friends. Viewed from another angle, this friendship is more of an illusion in that this interaction does not consist the basic things that go with genuine friendship.
Establishment of close friendship seems almost impossible in the context of virtual friendship. This is however not explicitly true since virtual friendship can eventually lead to true friendship. Therefore, virtual online friendship does not explicitly rule out the possibility of true and genuine friendship.
Depending on the point of view, it can also be argued that virtual friendship brings people more close compared to the traditional world. It therefore should remain clear that virtual friendship can lead to genuine friendship. Our analysis is however based on the moral value of friendship. This does not dispute the fact that virtual friendship counts as a form of friendship, it only sheds light on the moral approach on friendship. The approach only seeks to highlight Aristotelian point of view that regards virtual friendship a less important form of friendship compared to traditional friendship.
Based on the discussion above and emphasis of the Aristotelian view of friendship, virtual friendship does not therefore qualify as genuine friendship. There has to be basic elements for a friendship to qualify as genuine. It must be recognized mutually and the admiration and love felt should be based on virtue. Virtual friendship does not meet these elements and would therefore regarded as not genuine friendship.
Aristotle further argues that friendship is an important part of human happiness and since humans are social beings, friends are important in creating and sharing this happiness. Aristotle views friendship to occur between two individuals mutually and who have an almost equal status. He views other friendships as inferior to this one however much they may exist. Friendship makes people grow through inspiration in which both parties gain knowledge and life skills
While interacting with people and forging new friendships and relationships, some people tend to be unethical and do things against society morals. Several factors may cause this to happen.
Weakness of our wills may lead us to do unethical things. Humans have an inborn nature of constantly letting their desires rule their will. Temptation seem to be a major cause of human desires overriding their will, which however is difficult to overcome. Greed is desire at a different level in which humans have a burning desire to acquire something contrary to what they deserve. Therefore people constantly live in a way that they compromise honesty and morals for the sake of material gain of which is the major cause of sour relationships among social ties.
Ignorance also plays center stage in unethical behavior in human relations. Ignorance is the situation in which an individual is not aware of the vice they are committing. This could be due to a number of factors. For instance, an individual may be ignorant due to the fact that they have not been enlightened on a particular issue or worse still taught the wrong way. They say ignorance is no defense, but then it is a cause of unethical behavior among individuals. If for instance a child is born in a family in which theft is not considered a crime, they will grow up thinking it is the right thing to do. For a person to be ethical therefore, they ought to be taught early in childhood. Each society has a set of customs to which its members adhere to. These are laid down ethics and behaviors to which its members are expected to behave contrary to which they are subject to some form of punishment or isolation. People in this society are therefore taught to follow these customs for the sake of coexistence.
Slippery slope is another concept that can be viewed as a way in which individuals go against ethics. This can be interpreted as an act that is a vice but goes unnoticed and later develops into a habit. For instance, in the event somebody shoplifted an item from a supermarket since they were in urgent need and badly wanted the item, in case they go unnoticed there would be a desire to do it again despite the self-dissociation from the act. It later becomes difficult to quit that act since it later becomes a habit and eventually routine. There is always a thinking among many individuals that they would quit the act once they did it once. However it becomes difficult and becomes part and parcel of them. A great deal of unethical behaviors begin this way; a small act with the felling that ‘it did not hurt that much’ subsequent persistence of the act leads to development of a habit that becomes almost impossible to quit.
Arrogance is also a major cause of unethical behavior. Arrogance can be substituted with pride. In this case pride prevents individuals from expressing humility. Pride brings with it a feeling of self-importance and that people matter more than others. In the absence of humility, an individual assumes superiority in that they always consider their ways right. Little can be done to correct such individuals since they show a lot of arrogance in their bahaviour.