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Friendship vs. Relationship: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Friendship is a bond of mutual affection, typically non-romantic. Relationship is a connection or association, which can be romantic, familial, or professional.
Friendship vs. Relationship

Key Differences

Friendship is a bond based on mutual understanding, trust, and affection, often formed voluntarily between individuals. Relationships encompass a wider spectrum, including romantic, familial, and professional connections, each with varying levels of intimacy and commitment.
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While friendships are usually characterized by shared interests, support, and enjoyment, relationships can also include responsibilities, obligations, and sometimes a legal or formal status. The emotional depth in relationships, especially romantic ones, often surpasses that of typical friendships.
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Friendships, generally platonic, thrive on companionship and commonality, whereas relationships, particularly romantic ones, involve deeper emotional and sometimes physical intimacy. Relationships may also have explicit commitments and expectations, unlike most friendships.
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In friendships, individuals enjoy freedom and lack of obligations beyond basic social etiquette, while relationships, especially family and romantic ones, might entail specific roles and responsibilities. The dynamics of power and decision-making are also more pronounced in relationships than in friendships.
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Friendships can exist within relationships, adding a layer of companionship to the bond. However, not all relationships, especially professional or obligatory ones, develop the level of personal affinity and mutual enjoyment found in friendships.
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Typically non-romantic, platonic
Can be romantic, familial, or professional
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Emotional Depth

Based on mutual affection and shared interests
Varies; often deeper, especially in romantic contexts
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Commitment

Generally informal and voluntary
Can involve formal or legal commitments
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Physical Intimacy

Usually absent
Often present in romantic relationships
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Obligations

Minimal, based on mutual respect
Can include specific responsibilities and roles
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Friendship and Relationship Definitions

Friendship

Mutual trust and respect between friends.
Honesty is the foundation of their friendship.
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Relationship

A connection between individuals, either by blood, romance, or association.
Their relationship has evolved over the years.
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Friendship

A supportive connection between people.
Her friendship was a great comfort to me.
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Relationship

A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other.
She has a difficult relationship with her parents.
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Friendship

A close association between two people based on mutual affection.
Their friendship has lasted over a decade.
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Relationship

The way in which two or more people are connected.
The teacher-student relationship is important for learning.
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Friendship

The state of being friends.
They struck up a friendship during college.
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Relationship

The condition or fact of being related; connection or association.
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Oct 19, 2023

Friendship

The quality or condition of being friends.
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Relationship

Connection by blood or marriage; kinship.
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Friendship

A friendly relationship
Formed new friendships at camp.
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Relationship

A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other
Has a close relationship with his siblings.
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Friendship

Friendliness; good will
A policy of friendship toward other nations.
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Relationship

A romantic or sexual involvement.
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Friendship

(uncountable) The condition of being friends.
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Relationship

Connection or association; the condition of being related.
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Friendship

(countable) A friendly relationship, or a relationship as friends.
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Relationship

(mathematics) The links between the x-values and y-values of ordered pairs of numbers especially coordinates.
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Friendship

(uncountable) Good will.
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Relationship

Kinship; being related by blood or marriage.
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Friendship

The state of being friends; friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will; friendliness; amity; good will.
There is little friendship in the world.
There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.
Preferred by friendship, and not chosen by sufficiency.
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Relationship

A romantic or sexual involvement.
They have been in a relationship for ten years, but have never married.
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Friendship

Kindly aid; help; assistance,
Some friendship will it [a hovel] lend you gainst the tempest.
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Relationship

A way in which two or more people behave and are involved with each other
I have a good working relationship with my boss.
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Friendship

Aptness to unite; conformity; affinity; harmony; correspondence.
Those colors . . . have a friendship with each other.
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Relationship

(music) The level or degree of affinity between keys, chords and tones.
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Friendship

The state of being friends
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Relationship

The state of being related by kindred, affinity, or other alliance.
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Friendship

A bond of companionship and solidarity.
Their friendship grew through shared experiences.
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Relationship

A relation between people; (`relationship' is often used where `relation' would serve, as in `the relationship between inflation and unemployment', but the preferred usage of `relationship' is for human relations or states of relatedness);
The relationship between mothers and their children
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Relationship

A state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection);
He didn't want his wife to know of the relationship
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Relationship

A state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries
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Relationship

State of relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
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Relationship

The state of being related or interrelated.
The study explores the relationship between diet and health.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is friendship always non-romantic?

Typically, yes, friendship is platonic and non-romantic.
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Is trust important in both friendships and relationships?

Yes, trust is a fundamental element in both friendships and relationships.
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Can friendships turn into romantic relationships?

Yes, friendships can evolve into romantic relationships over time.
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Is communication important in maintaining friendships?

Yes, effective communication is crucial in maintaining healthy friendships.
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Can a relationship be platonic?

Yes, relationships can be platonic, especially in familial or professional contexts.
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Do relationships always have clearly defined roles?

In many cases, yes, especially in familial and professional relationships.
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Are all relationships legally binding?

No, not all relationships are legally binding; some are based on personal or social connections.
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Do all relationships involve love?

No, not all relationships involve love; some are based on duty, work, or other forms of association.
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Can one have a relationship without friendship?

Yes, it's possible to have a relationship without the level of personal affinity found in friendships.
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Can relationships be temporary?

Yes, some relationships are temporary, depending on the context and individuals involved.
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Can friendships have different levels of intimacy?

Yes, friendships can vary greatly in terms of emotional closeness and intimacy.
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Is emotional support a key aspect of friendship?

Yes, emotional support is a central aspect of most friendships.
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Are boundaries important in relationships?

Yes, setting and respecting boundaries is important in all types of relationships.
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Are commitments necessary in friendships?

No, friendships do not typically require formal commitments.
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Are relationships more complex than friendships?

Often, relationships can be more complex due to their varied nature and the roles involved.
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Is mutual respect a foundation for both friendships and relationships?

Yes, mutual respect is key in both friendships and relationships.
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Can a friendship survive a transition into a romantic relationship?

Yes, but the transition can change the dynamics and requires careful navigation.
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Do friendships require constant interaction?

No, friendships can endure even with infrequent interactions.
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Can friendships exist in professional relationships?

Yes, friendships can develop in professional settings, though they may have boundaries due to the work context.
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Is it normal for relationships to change over time?

Yes, it's normal for relationships to evolve and change over time.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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