Friendship

Given my definition of mothering and fathering, I have great sympathy for the perspective that, regardless of age, we all need mothering and fathering. Once we leave the dependency of childhood, the place we find that resource is in our friendships.

Friendship is the simplest of our relationships. There are no contractual obligations, unless the relationship broadens into or springs from the work environment. Instead, friendship is a mutually supportive joining of bubbles to create a protective boundary around the community of friends.

Inside that bubble, the skills of the community can merge to form a supportive gestalt. While no obligation entails, a friendship among peers establishes a context of trust that removes impediments to the flow of knowledge and services. Friends will repair or maintain property and provide advice and security without any thought for financial compensation, because they know that they will receive benefit in return at a later time.

As communities evolve, friendship evolves psychological commitments to parity that can seem unfair bias to external observers. The establishmentarian "old boys' network" was such an ideation. When a provider is unable to keep pace with his peers, the children and spouse are unable to participate fully in sustaining their community of friendships. When wives perceive that they are at risk of separation from a valued association, they appeal to their husbands to "make things right." The biased allocation of opportunity and reward may reflect compensation for non-work value delivered to the community by the other members of the family, and without which the other providers might be less able to produce value.