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Grażyna HABRAJSKA – Semantic Profiles of Love and Friendship: Results of an Empirical Research Among University Students

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The differences between the concepts of love and friendship may be described based on the results of a survey asking about the nature of the particular relation and its characteristics (“What is love?” and “What is friendship?”), the individuals that have a given type of relation, its basis, how it occurs, how long it lasts, what kind of bonds brings together the persons involved in it and whether they have sexual relations (“Who enters a relation of friendship? and “Who enters a relation of love?”). An analysis of the answers given to the above questions may be helpful in a reconstruction of the common-sense defi nitions of love and friendship. The results obtained in the survey described in the present paper show that love is considered to be an emotion which binds two persons together, occurs suddenly and unexpectedly, is relatively lasting, comprising various relations and usually involving sex. Friendship is in turn described as a union of two persons who are not infrequently of the same gender and relate to each other on the basis of common views or attitudes. This kind of union is in most cases lasting, it does not involve sexual behavior, but demands specific relations of other types. However, the relations in question, which also determine the differences in the perception of love and friendship, have not been extensively described by the respondents. Since the characterizations of love and friendship one may fi nd in the literature on the subject focus precisely on the relations between the persons involved in these two types of relation, the present paper has investigated these relations more closely. The survey in question focused on (1) the characteristics desired in a friend and those desired in a loved person, (2) the characteristics that preclude a person from becoming a friend or a lover, (3) the scope of action one is willing to perform for a friend and for a lover, and (4) the ways of expressing friendship and love. The results of the survey have shown that the semantic profi les of highly stabilized collective symbols of love and friendship slowly evolve and tend to exhibit collectivist rather than individualist attitudes. The young respondents who completed the survey tend to abandon romantic attitudes based on abstract values and adopt various rationalist approaches in order to derive particular benefi ts from a given union, either for themselves or for themselves and their partner.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: love, friendship, semantics, survey

Zakład Teorii i Praktyki Komunikacji, Katedra Dziennikarstwa i Komunikacji Społecznej,
Wydział Filologiczny, Uniwersytet Łódzki,
ul. Gdańska 107, 97-507 Łódź, Poland
E-mail: grazyna.h@hotmail.com
Phone: +48 42 6655354

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887