Culture, Poem

Friendship Love (clogyrnach)

philia love


Philia is one of four ancient Greek words for love, and this specific word implies a love felt between friends. Thomas Jay Oord defines it as an intentional response to promote well-being when cooperating with or befriending others, and that it also gives humans authentic friendship (source). For Aristotle, the object of philia is “another oneself” because one must feel philia for oneself in order to feel the highest form of philia for another (source). CS Lewis describes it as  the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary of loves. It is a type of love that is freely chosen. He believed this type of love to be almost ‘a lost art’ and that modern society ignores friendship, in comparison with examples we have from the past (source).

What do you think? Do you agree with CS Lewis? Do you think that modern society ignores true, authentic ‘philia’? And if so, how do you think that has impacted western, and/or global culture today?

Clogyrnach is a poetry form of 6 lines. The first two lines has 8 syllables each. Lines three and four have five syllables each. The last two lines have three syllables each. Lines one, two and six must rhyme, and lines three, four and five must rhyme.

42 thoughts on “Friendship Love (clogyrnach)”

    1. Thanks Audrey. Have you ever read CS Lewis’ book “The Four Loves”? I haven’t, but it’s on my list of reads (once I get through the plethora of other books I already have – especially the Francis Shaeffer ones).If interested at all, check out this site here that has a bunch of quotes from the book:
      I’ve a read a little tiny bit of what Aristotle has to say on this type of love, however it can get a bit heady.

      1. Haha, ok. Yea, I don’t mind heady either. A number of years ago I never would have understood much heady, being the strong feeler that I am. Being married to someone completely the opposite of me has really helped. Now I love the heady (so longing it’s not too over the top).

    1. Hahaha. It’s a little heady, isn’t it? I guess it’s not something that the average person sits down to ponder or think about in day to day life. I wanted to write a little on the subject because I think that ‘love’ or ‘falling in love’ seems to have a very shallow definition in modern times. At least in the western world.
      Let me know your thoughts once you’ve though it through ok.

  1. I loved your poem and the thoughts about friendship you quoted. I do think that friendship is a word used to loosely these days. And I think that more often than not it may be a “fair weather” kind of friendship. Just like in marriage, one has to be willing to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly and still be friends or soulmates or lovers. And I really don’t like that whole “best friend” thing. That’s so insulting to the others in your life who think of themselves as friends, and sometimes in the end truly are the best of friends. But hey, that’s just me. Hugs and love, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    1. I LOVE this comment Natalie. You totally hit the nail on the head as to where I’m going with this. I actually can’t say that there is anyone that I can truly say is my ‘heart and affection’ friend. And actually, I wrote this (a more coming this week) to hit the issue of love. What is love? Now-a-day we see so much divorce, and so little understanding of what true love really means. We say ‘I love you’ to our spouse, children, parents, friends, and at the same time say, ‘I love chocolate ice cream’. So what then? People talk about falling in and out of love. And when they fall in love, they have ooey gooey feelings and goose bumps. Then they fall out of love and there’s no more commitment. Get a divorce. The spark is gone. What about hearts? What about children? What about commitment? Anyhow, enough ranting.
      Thank so much Natalie. I sooooo appreciate your presence and wise words here.
      Love and hugs.
      🙂 ❤

  2. This is a marvelous post, the poem “Philia” is wonderful, followed by your explanation of the meaning of philia, is terrific. I agree with CS Lewis, but not completely dismissing Aristotle. In conclusion explaining, a “clogyrnach” wow! You did a fabulous job with the creation of your poem using this format. The entire post, terrific! Take good care, and please enjoy the rest of your week!

    Warm wishes,

    1. Oh wow, thank you so much Pepperanne. I am truly humbled by your comment and appreciation of this poem and post. Coming from such a wonderful and deep poet as yourself, I’m honored. I’m actually planning on reading CS Lewis’ book, “The Four Loves” sometime in the near future. I’m interested in it mainly because I think ‘love’ has become somewhat of a shallow word in these modern times. People fall in and out of love so easily, as if it’s all about feelings, and not much about commitment. I want to do a poem on all four of the ancient Greek words for love.
      Thanks again and you have a great day and week.

  3. Beautiful poem and topic Staci! I agree with Natalie: “friendship is a word used to loosely these days”, how true!!! I think real friendship (and friends!) are rare. Finally, Natalie (Ah!!! Natalie!!!) has found the right words: , “one has to be willing to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly and still be friends or soulmates or lovers”. I love the distinction between “friends, soulmates and lovers” she makes… and she’s right about “best friends”… sometimes “best friends” can be very disappointing. Why call them “best” friends then? As for philia and society, I think we need respect and tolerance. I must respect you and your choices – it does mean you are my “friend” and vice versa… Yes, respect and tolerance are enough to live together peacefully. Friendship is a blessing. Friends (real friends) are messengers. And their message is not from this world. Great post as usual, my dear FRIEND ♥♥♥♥

    1. Thank you so much Frederic. I agree with what you said about friendship being a word used too loosely. In the past, and also in non-western countries, there seems to be a deeper meaning behind this word, and this type of love. So, I would say that not only the word ‘friendship’ is being used too loosely, but ‘love’ as well. I have a friend that, many years ago, told me about how Muslims are with friends. If someone invites you over to their house, you never say no, nor reject the invitation. You always go because, even if you don’t want to, you are looking to the interests of your friend and want to please him. In the Bible, David and Jonathan had this type of friendship.
      Thanks for your lovely comment Frederic. You always enrich the conversation.
      Much love, my friend.
      🙂 ❤

  4. I think friendship is a wonderful thing. I like to think that we cultivate it with time and selflessness and both seem to be in short supply in modern society- we seem to be busier than ever and more interested in ‘selfies’! 😀 Seriously though, I think that time and selflessness have been scarce in previous generations as well. We ‘need’ companionship and we’re still seeking out friends/friendships- the arena may have changed (virtual/online).

    I am grateful for my friends and I want to be a better friend. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Timi
      ” I like to think that we cultivate it with time and selflessness and both seem to be in short supply in modern society-”
      –I love this. It is so true. I know that you don’t live in Nigeria (right?), but would you say this to be true there as well? I’m interested because I have a feeling that this is more of a western culture thing. It seems to me that Asian people, and Muslims seem to understand this type of love more than the West.
      “I think that time and selflessness have been scarce in previous generations as well. ”
      –I agree. Even CS Lewis book, “The Four Loves”, was published back in the 1960s. And no doubt selfishness has always been around. I guess I’m looking at this on a more all round cultural thing. If that makes any sense?
      That’s wonderful that you are grateful your friends. I want that too. I have to confess that I can’t say that I don’t have any real friends where I’m living right now. Been here for four years and just can’t seem to adjust. However, we’re moving back to our home YWAM base in the beginning of next year. There is a lot more community there and I’m really looking forward to it.

      1. While it is true that in Nigeria, the culture in general can be warmer and more welcoming and there is a greater sense of kinship, the big cities are like other metropolitan cities in the world. Everyone is busy hustling for a living. Time is in short supply and people are self-absorbed, thinking about how to get their daily bread. Also in Nigeria, things aren’t that simple. Sometimes friendships thrive along ethnic lines.

        @a lot more community, I’m happy for you! Friendship love also makes the world go round 🙂

  5. I don’t know if I agree that declaring a best friend is insulting. It’s a title that describes an rarefied place in our lives. I have a friend that I consider my best friend, since I was 7 years old. If I should say to a person whom I’ve met recently that this is so and so, and he’s been my best friend for a million years, I would imagine that the other person would find that to be remarkable. I think that modern society has been infused at all levels with a characteristic of impermanence. Nothing is designed to last forever, and that has bled over into our understanding and acceptance of friendship.

    1. I think it’s beautiful that you have strong roots and a ‘best friend’ Rob. I’ve always had difficulty with friendships, and them lasting. I was very insecure and bullied in school growing up, plus have been very hurt by past relationships. Until this day, I don’t have any ‘real heart friends’ that I can safely say are there forever. No wait, actually I just thought of one. Oh YEAH!!! Happy dance here. I do have one. His name is Rob actually. Just like yours. He lives in Canada and we’ve been friends for 20 years. We’ve had long breaks obviously (geographical of course), but whenever we connect again, when I’m in Canada and he travels to come visit, it’s like there was never any separation. I guess I can say that he is my ‘life-time heart friend’.
      Wonderful comment, my friend.

  6. Brilliantly thought-provoking post! First off, this new form of poetry is really beautiful and very impressive. True friendship has become rare but not extinct. Of course, the term is used very generic manner. We do not know anything about the other person yet we tag “my best friend”. Each has defined friendship in his/her own way…with relaxations and rigidity involved. In present times…friends are chosen and not made….the pre-requisites being….the friend should love you, listen to you, respect your views, follow you, always say YES to you…..and should not EXPECT anything in return. If any of the rule is broken…he is out of the definition. I firmly believe that a relation can grow best only in freedom.

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post, sweetie. Stay Amazing!

    1. Hi Reva. What a wonderful and thought-provoking comment. I can tell that you truly sought to understand this post and where I was coming from with it. Just wonderful. You said it all when you wrote: “the pre-requisites being….the friend should love you, listen to you, respect your views, follow you, always say YES to you…..and should not EXPECT anything in return. If any of the rule is broken…he is out of the definition.” We see this soooooooo much now-a-days. And what a wise statement as well in say that relationships grow best in freedom. Yes! Freedom to be oneself. Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to be accepted for who you are. Freedom to choose.
      Thank you so much R for your kind words and for enriching the conversation here.
      YOU stay amazing, as always.

  7. True relationship is sadly scarce today, especially amongst men. It is rare that guys go beyond sports and the weather. However when the brave few finally do, it is a beautiful thing! – that’s the voice of experience:)

    1. Hi Chris. Your comment made me think of The Culture Monk and what he’s been touching on lately. The whole issue of men and their interests and conversations (even with girls) about sports and video games. Do you read his blog? I think it’s safe to say that you are one of those few men that does open up and invite true friendship. Yes?
      Thanks Chris.

      1. I do read the Culture Monk, it’s been one of my go to blogs for a long time now. I really appreciate where he is coming from with regards to community.

        I wasn’t always willing to open up, wounds from my youth & defensive mechanisms prevented it. God brought me through a long season of healing & through that all those fears were washed away. Sometimes I think I can be too free to open up now, I need to be sure to be aware of my audience 🙂
        Those relationships I have though, the real, deep relationships with my brother at my church, it is difficult to put into words, but they are like a life blood. I cannot imaging going back to life without that.

  8. Hello, Staci!
    Very blessed by this post. I needed to hear this! Friendships can be challenging, and I’m learning how they work. 🙂 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) I want to be the kind of friend who encourages, corrects in love, and consistently points others to Jesus. I think that the blame for lack of meaningful, Godly relationships should be shifted not to the culture (who does not know God) but to the Church (who has not been standing fully and faithfully to Scripture). Social media has helped to contribute to the lack of true friendship because- everyone has FRIENDS, right? Just some random thoughts in a jumbled order…. 🙂

    1. Hahaha, “ramdom thoughts in a a jumbled order”. Nooooooo, they’re not jumbled.
      Yea, social media is definitely changing things. I do think though that it goes deeper than that. I think it has to do with the values within a culture. Like Muslims for example. From what I know, if a muslim invites a friend over, the friend would never say no, even if they don’t want to go. They go anyways because they are honoring that friend and wants to do what that friend wants. I’m not an expert or anything, but I’ve been told something along those lines. Cultural values and importances within a society come largely from world-view. Being that we, in the western world, are living very much so in a post-modern and even post-Christian reality, we see a society/culture that is fragmented. It’s unfortunate that oftentimes Christians allow the culture to influence them, rather than stand upon Biblical values.
      Thanks so much for sharing Kay-Leigh. I think it’s wonderful that you want to be a friend who encourages, corrects in love, and consistently points others to Jesus.

      1. I agree that the issues in friendship go deeper than social media. There’s a lot of problems to consider, but I, personally, get sort of distracted from “being a friend” when I think on all the complications that result from the “not-being-a-true-friend” that is so prevalent in society at large. Thank-you for the above illustration. It’s saddening when pagans are truer friends than we Christians, who are called to be friends to people and share the Truth through our friendship. What did Jesus say in Matthew 5:46? If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors {pagans} doing that? (NIV) We are called to not love the world, or the things in the world, (1 John 2:15) but to be an example through our words and deeds. We will be known by our love for each other. (John 13:35) I looked up the greek word for “love” used in John 13:35, and it is agape. Agape is the ultimate true love – sacrificial and loving even when nothing is in it for us. But thank-you for sharing about phileo love, I’ve not thoroughly studied the four loves before, and plan on looking it up at my library. 🙂

      2. Oh yes, please do look up the book. The English language only has one word for ‘love’. We say I love my mom, I love my brother, I love my friend, I love chocolate ice cream. Very vague. The Greeks have four different words for our one. I wanted to touch on each one of them, leading up to my 11 year anniversary. Sooooo, I started with Philia (Phileo), yesterday did Storge, today did Eros, and then I want to be able to post on my anniversary (Sat) a post about love and marriage. I’m thinking of doing a letter to my husband, or something like that.
        Anyhow, ya, get the book. CS Lewis is great.

  9. I do kind of agree with CS Lewis (one of my favorites btw). I believe we have to purposely choose to nurture our friendships in this day and age. There are so many distractions. And social media while good, can also promote shallow interaction. Sometimes it’s just plain nice to sit down and have a face to face with someone with no phones or tablets in sight 🙂

    1. Well said Kirsten. And that is so true about the social media promoting shallow interaction. People don’t end up seeing the not-no-nice side of us.
      Imagine that. No phone or tablets in sight. Do you think this ever happens?

      1. I try to go sans phone whenever Im visiting with someone. If im on call for work that doesnt happen because i get too many calls, texts, and emails that need immediate responses. I dont see the point of visiting with someone in person if I’m going to be on my phone half the time. I want them to know that they have 100% of my attention.

  10. one of my favorite Greek words is philotimo. it’s a character virtue that’s difficult to translate into English, but fundamentally it’s about doing what God asks us to do toward others: give them love without asking for it back. i love these last few posts, so much. thank you. tony

    1. Oh Tony. Wow, that is wonderful. Like unconditional love. I had read that philia is also an extremely loyal love, like unconditional. I’m going to remember this word and it’s meaning for sure. Thank you for sharing that with me.
      I’m so glad you ‘love’ these last few posts.

  11. Thank You Staci for bringing Me CLOSER to the work which would have taken couple of months to Research. Your wonderful posts has made a whole lot of ground work which is an Achievement one of a kind, the way You have written how it works.
    Thank You once again. 🙂 -Sagarika

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