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  • Writer's pictureBree Vanley

You Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me: 3 Ways To Show Philia Love

As part of our Mental Health Mondays: Love Series, we will look at four different types of love (self love, romantic love, agape love, and philia love). We have already covered self love, romantic love, and agape love. This week we are highlighting philia love. Continue ready to find out more.

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Growing up, I used to hear the phrase "brotherly love" quite often. Usually, when this phrase was mentioned it was in reference to the city of Philadelphia. Philia love is simply the bond and connection one has in friendship with another. To show philia love to others, you would treat them as your own brother. This close friendship can, in time, turn into a relationship that resembles family. In other words, you grow to love, respect, and cherish this friend as much as you would a member of your own family.

It's not enough to just make friends that become family. Like any relationship, it has to be continually cultivated. Here are three ways to demonstrate philia love and continue to cultivate your friendly bond with one another.

1. Checking In

You may not have the type of friendship where you have to call or text each other every single day. That's fine. Realistically, with the different types of responsibilities people have, it would be more of a hassle to talk for hours every single day. As we grow up, we take on more responsibilities that need our time and attention. However, it is okay to check in with each other every so often. Ask them how they're doing. Ask about your nieces and nephews. Ask about what's new in their life.

Checking in does not have to be often and it doesn't have to take 3-4 hours to do so. For example, my best friend and I check in once a week on average. We miss some weeks, but we're not upset at each other if that happens. We understand that we both have obligations and responsibilities. Checking in, however, gives us both the opportunity to catch up and see if there is anything new or different, or just to talk about silly things and maintain the dynamics of our friendship.

There are so many ways to check in with your friends. You can physically check in with each other by meeting up to have dinner and drinks. You can Facetime or Zoom each other if your schedule is too busy or you don't feel like getting out. You can send voice messages over text so that your friend can hear your voice. You can even check in through social media. The list just goes on and on. Whatever method you choose, checking in is effortless, but very intentional.

2. Game Night

This is for the "big kid" adults who still like to have fun. Even as I have worked with children, I have seen the proven benefit of play. Game night can be super fun and relaxing and engaging. Whether you are playing Spades, Monopoly, Uno, Phase 10, Charades, etc., you are bound to have fun when you are with a group of friends. It's even better if you have enough people to split into teams. That's when the real competitive natures surface.

When we were children, play was an important part of our development. It helped with our creativity, our cognitive processing, our emotional intelligence, and so much more. If play was a central component in our development when we were children, how important is it now when we are adults?

Playing as adults continues to help with our creativity, cognitive processing, and emotional intelligence; but it also adds the benefit of being a stress reducer. Playing during game night or being playful in general does not necessarily equate immaturity. It is, however, a way to keeps yourself young and youthful. Even now, people guess my age incorrectly, placing me a few years younger than what I actually am. Whatever your choice of play, be sure to enjoy a good time with friends.

3. Friend-cations

Yes, Bae-cations are nice, but so are Friend-cations. Imagine being on a beach or an island with just you and your friends. Imagine the level of fun that you can have being away from your current place of residence and exploring a new territory. Now plan that trip! There are endless possibilities for Friend-cations. You can stay within the United States or travel overseas. Either way, you will be able to create rare and invaluable memories. Friend-cations are an experience of a lifetime.

Make sure that when you go on this Friend-cation, that the goal is to enjoy each other. Granted, there may be moments when you might bicker or argue, but it's okay to put that aside for the sake of enjoying your trip. Also, don't be afraid to try new things. If you are on a Friend-cation and your friends want to go ziplining, join them. Don't miss one moment of fun with your friends. Enjoy yourself and help make the trip memorable for everyone involved.


Philia love is very closely related to agape love, but on a deeper level. You can be nice to people in general, but you may go over and above for someone that you consider to be family. And just like in any relationship, whether it be family or friends, it is important to continually cultivate that relationship in order to maintain the dynamics of the relationship's overall functioning.

Bree Vanley is the CEO of Heart Matters Therapy, PLLC. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Arkansas who focuses primarily on anxiety, depression, and trauma. She is committed to helping others become mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally healthy. For more information, please click here. You can also follow Heart Matters Therapy, PLLC on Facebook and Instagram.

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