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Sample Essay on Compare and Contrast a Casual Friendship with a Close Friendship

Friendships make life beautiful and colorful, adding significant value to life. Whether casual or close friendships, the role of friendship is increasingly important to happiness and health according to Macmilan (2017). Friendship is born through interaction seeing people grow from being strangers to casual friends before graduating to become close or best friends. Forming friendships is a process that can happen at any given environment as long as human beings are living together. It could be in the classroom, office, church, at the beach or just at home. Wherever it blossoms, friendship is the most amazing gift to humanity making it possible to rely and be there for one another. This essay will compare and contrast casual and close friendships pointing out the outstanding differences in both.

The Genesis of any friendship is availability, commitment and kindness. For each friendship (casual or close), the three factors differ being higher for close friendships. For example, while casual friendship between two classmates who are required to complete a project may force them to remain after class to complete the project, availability for close friends and sharing time is not determined by an assignment but mutual agreement. In other words it is unlikely that casual friends will hang out together frequently unlike close friends. Meeting the set goal of casual and close friendships becomes inevitable regardless of the circumstances making commitment inevitable. Kindness on the other hand, minimally is experienced in a casual friendship as much as it is experienced in a close friendship. The act of sharing and caring tends to be more frequent as the friendship graduates from casual to close friendship asserts Macmilan (2017).

Some of the most outstanding features of a casual and a close friendship are achieving the goal of social support. According to (Hendrick and Hendrick, 2000), social support is rated as the second most frequent strategy of maintaining and improving friendships after self- disclosure. Self-disclosure, which is the behavioral manifestation of opening up to another person, plays a critical role in building friendships. Research reveals that women unlike men are more likely to display self-disclosure in friendships. (Hendrick and Hendrick, 2000) argue that women especially tend to use self-disclosure as a means of maintaining and improving friendships. While moderate self-disclosure is characteristic of casual relationships, explicit self-disclosure is characteristic of close friendships.

In their comparative chart Yawkey and Johnson (2013), argue that casual friends and close friends differ largely.  While a high degree of mutual liking is described amongst close friends, no high degree of attraction is described in casual friendships. A close friendship grows from two people who share something and most likely go through a life experience causing them to relate more. In the process, they find themselves sharing the experience, helping each other, solving the solution and wanting to be together. It would be okay to say that unlike casual friends who just like each other, close friends but love each other.

For close friends high value is placed on personal characteristics but for casual friendships, it does not happen. Casual friends enjoy minimal exchange of personal information and may meet only for enjoyment, social activities, projects or church activities. According to Yawkey and Johnson (2013), unlike casual friendships where minimal attention is given to personal problems, close friendships share personal information and secrets. Moreover, they try to solve personal problems and help.

According to Yawkey and Johnson (2013), certain critical features of close and casual friendships differ greatly. In their study, they revealed that features like personal sharing, mutual likeness, and close emotions are characteristic of close friendships. To maintain a close friendship, both parties have to celebrate each other’s victories, success, encourage and uplift each other and provide comfort in times of distress. The amount of care and concern offered in close friendships is incomparable to a casual friendship. In the first place, casual friends do not care for each other and thus are not concerned with one’s welfare. It is almost impossible to see casual friends offering comfort to each other or encouragement because they are not attached emotionally.

Unlike close friends who are obliged to provide comfort and be there for each other, casual friends have no such obligation and are thus not termed to be emotionally attached but socially attached to each other.  The bond between friends in a close friendship appears stronger than a casual relationship. As close friends part or separate many emotions are aroused. Tears may flow and an emptiness that is void experienced as a tight bond has to be broken unlike casual friends who do not even need to say goodbye. Casual friendships as compared to close friendships are perceived as having less affection (Hendrick and Hendrick, 2000).

In conclusion, it is impossible for human beings to exist without friendships. Both casual and close friendships are imperative to the journey of life. While casual and close friendships differ, each plays a significant role. A casual friendship is the first step to growing the friendship to a close friendship.



Hendrick, C. and Hendrick, S. (2000), Close relationships source book, Thousand Oaks, sage      publications

Mcmilan, A. (2017). ‘Why friends may be more important than family,’ Time health, mental         psychology, from

Yawkey, T. and Johnson, J. (2013), Integrative processes and socialization: Early to middle           childhood, family and relationships, psychology press

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