In July, we teamed up with Paula — local Helena business owner of Aizada Imports — and Martin — of Martin’s Wines — to explore the topic of friendship & love during Helena’s First Friday eve on the downtown walking mall!
In addition, to providing some food for thought about friendship & love for passer-byer’s (via a collection of quotes from various philosophers & thinkers) and wine recommendations (paired with various aspects of friendship & love and prepared by Martin), we conducted a survey. Below are the results of this survey & thoughts about friendship and love from individuals who participated.
The following questions were included on our community survey:
- The most important quality in friendship is…
- The most important quality in (romantic) love is…
- Can you have love without friendship?
- Can you have a friendship with something other than a human being (e.g., a cat, a tree, ideas)?
We also included a couple of essay-style questions. Example questions included:
- Think of a friendship in your past or present. Pick a moment that stands out. What makes that event memorable for you?
- Is there anything about friendship or love not mentioned here that you would like to mention?
Community Response Highlights
Below are some highlights of community member responses regarding Friendship & Love.
The most important quality in love is…
The top responses:
- Honesty & Trustworthiness
The second most popular responses:
- Intelligence (Intellectual/Emotional) & Compassion
The third most popular responses:
The fourth most popular responses:
- Loyalty; Humor; Adventurous; Reliable/Steadfast; Humility
The fifth most popular responses:
- Generosity & Creativity/Imaginative
The most important quality in (romantic) love is…
The top response:
- The same as in friendship plus a baseline physical attraction
Between honesty & trustworthiness, trustworthiness ranked higher.
Between intelligence & compassion, compassion ranked higher.
Between loyalty, humor, adventurous, reliable/steadfast, and humility – loyalty, reliable/steadfast & humility ranked highest.
Between generosity and creative/imaginative, generosity ranked highest.
Can you have love without friendship?
The top responses:
- Yes & Yes, but only when it comes to family
Can you have a friendship with something other than a human being (e.g., a cat, a tree, ideas)?
The top responses:
- Yes & Yes, but the nature of that friendship would be different
Think of a friendship in our past or present. Pick a moment that stands out. What makes that event memorable for you?
A long-distance friendship kept us from communicating often — but we’d been roommates for a year of graduate school and we’d vacationed together for a few years after that, so we had a durable connection. When she experienced a series of losses (brother, mother, colleague), she sent a long, long letter…I felt so honored and we re-connected with compassion and love. We now live nearer (5 hours) and visit several times a year – Helena Community Member
My dear friend of nearly 40 years was living across the country and a week after I gave birth to my daughter (I had no mother or mother-in-law to help me) she showed up at my house, unannounced, and spent a week with me. I’ll never forget opening my front door and seeing her standing there – Helena Community Member
I came from a rural, religious, close-minded, conservative upbringing. The first time I told a friend I was an atheist here in Helena, they responded non-judgmentally and nothing about our friendship changed. I was anxious that I would be looked at differently, but I wasn’t. That was a powerful moment of friendship for me – Helena Community Member
Is there anything about friendship or love not mentioned here that you would like to mention?
Knowing & loving without words – Helena Community Member
Loving someone exactly as they are – Helena Community Member
There are qualities of soul connection that are difficult to articulate and often result in seemingly odd relationships — sometimes deeper forces attract people to each other and those defy explanation – Helena Community Member
Robert Heinlein said something like “Love is when the well-being of another is crucial to your own” – Helena Community Member
Friendship takes many forms and varies from individual to individual – Helena Community Member