Compare and Contrast a Casual Friendship with a Close Friendship – Essay

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

The genesis of any friendship is availability, commitment, and kindness. These three factors are higher for close friendships than causal ones. For example, while casual friendship between two classmates who are required to complete a project may force them to remain behind 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 like close friends. When it comes to commitment, meeting the set goal is necessary for both the friendships, making commitment inevitable. Kindness on its part is minimal in casual friendships and much in close friendships (Macmilan, 2017). The act of sharing and caring tends to be more frequent as the friendship graduates from casual to close friendship. One begins to feel more responsibility to care for another person as they become closer as friends. It even reaches a point where a person considers their close friend more as family than as a friend.

A common feature of both casual and close friendships is 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. This means men tend to keep many of their secrets and issues to themselves. Perhaps this is because they believe they can handle their personal issues on their own and would prefer not bothering friends with them.

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 also love each other. As the name suggests, they are close to each other and feel they should be there for each other both in times of happiness and times of sadness.

Further, for close friends, high value is placed on personal characteristics but for casual friendships, that is not the case. 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.

Certain critical features of close and casual friendships differ greatly. In their study, Yawkey and Johnson (2013) 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 each other’s welfare. It is almost impossible to see casual friends offering comfort to each other or encouragement because they are not attached emotionally. That is why whenever a person is facing challenges, he or she turns to close friends and ignores causal ones.

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 to be stronger than that in a casual friendship. As close friends part ways or separate for whatever reasons, many emotions are aroused. Tears may flow and an emptiness experienced. This is because the separation would lead to the breaking of a tight bond, unlike casual friends who do not even need to say goodbye (Hendrick & Hendrick, 2000). Casual friendships as compared to close friendships are thus perceived to have less affection.


It is impossible for human beings to exist without friendships. Both casual and close friendships are necessary in 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 one.


Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. (2000). Close relationships source book. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Macmilan, A. (2017). “Why friends may be more important than family.” Time. Retrieved July 9, 2020 from

Yawkey, T., & Johnson, J. (2013). Integrative processes and socialization: early to middle childhood. Psychology Press.

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