Love Stories – Chapter 4: Philia

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Love Stories-neon2

Cover art by Katrina Nash of Yours Truly. Check out her work on Facebook and Instagram!

This is the fourth post of the Love Stories series. The pilot is here, Chapter 1 here, 2 here and 3 here. TIH and I have also partnered up for a cool competition that you can be a part of, details are here.

I Philia you

Philia is affectionate regard or friendship or affection. It is a platonic, virtuous love, a concept apparently developed by Aristotle, who expressed it as loyalty, specifically brotherly love. Aristotle divided this type of love into three types, based on the motive for their formation: utility, pleasure and the good.

Utility: relationships formed around a need, giving mutual or individual benefit. It’s more so an acquaintance than friend, e.g. a student buying a textbook from a former student or meeting a friend of a friend at a party that you bum a smoke from. The two only communicate based on their need and when the motive for the relationship is taken away, so is the friendship.

Pleasure: relationships are based on enjoyment in the company of this friend. Drinking buddies, gym buddies, buddies that support the same team. Friends usually part when the hobby isn’t shared anymore e.g. someone that plays on your basketball team, but then they tear their ACL so you no longer play together and see each other. The relationship may end there, unless it is consciously pushed forward.

The Good: relationships where the two friends respect and enjoy each other’s characters. Usually the most enduring kind of friendship, motivated by the care in the relationship. This is the highest form of philia. Think Amy Poehler and Tina Fey kind of besties.

It’s unfortunate that two people in a friendship can have different understandings of which  type of relationship they have.  Unlike a romantic relationship (or even if one sees romance and the other platonic), people aren’t as inclined to discuss the status of their friendships. I guess it’s because friendships are a lot more organic, growing based on time spent together, mutual effort, and the depth of your conversations and vulnerability. Friends don’t usually sit down and define their friendship, but one day just start calling each other best friends. Whereas in a romantic relationship, you usually have to define the relationship because it’s exclusive. Most friendships don’t prohibit the other from having other (best) friends.

I’ve caught up with a few friends lately and we have all been evaluating friendships and in a sense, culling. Being in our mid to late twenties, we are busy with careers and relationships, and growing up. Giving time to people is the biggest investment we can give. Especially when the opportunity cost (one of the only things I learned in economics at uni) is time i.e. spending time on the wrong people (or things) takes time away from the right people. It might sound ruthless (I have been called ruthless and savage a lot), but it’s making the best use of your time and energy.

When I was 18, meeting people and having disposable friendships was fun. But now, I don’t really want over 100 people over at my house to celebrate my birthday like I did when I was turning 18 (for the record my house was not big enough but it happened anyway). Now I’d rather have a good group of close friends around for a more intimate dinner.

I’ve also noticed that my friendships have really evolved over time, too. In the past friendships were about what you had in common. Now some of my friends and I really don’t have anything in common, but the love we have for each other. The things I require from my friendships have pretty much boiled down to that. But breaking ” love” or philia down for me looks like this: presence (this doesn’t mean seeing them every week or even every month. But at the very least knowing what is going on in your friend’s life), genuine care, pushing you to be better, journeying with you and being reliable. Oh and for it to be a two-way street. Ain’t nobody got time to invest in someone who isn’t investing in you.


Philia or brotherly love is special because you’re so close to your friend that you feel like family and that’s the type of friendships I am surrounding myself with at this point in my life.

Peace, lovers and friends.

I Just Want to Know You

Lil and I met in year seven, we were in a lot of classes together throughout high school and she was the only other (half) Filipino (Philia-pino) I really hung out with. I don’t really remember how we gravitated towards each other but she was part of the reason I had so much fun during that time.


Our friendship group was the loud, slightly obnoxious, high on life, boisterous, prepubescent idiots in the grade. In fact, we were first kids that the teachers blame when anything went astray. Who else would start water fights knowing well and truly that our uniforms would go see-through? Steal industrial length foil from the kitchen and make outfits in the playground? Start a ‘stacks on’ during lunch on one of the smallest people in the group (that was Lil and she got SO mad at everyone and wore a bandage on her cheek to cover the small graze for the next week haha). We had raves in the senior study, tried to be skaters boys on school camps, held emo nights during our school retreats. Drama class was probably the best class to lose our minds in, a couple of us from the same group were in this class.


I remember the earlier years when we would call each other after school, as if we weren’t already sick enough of each other and talk about nonsense. She would call me after getting cast for adverts or when she won talent contests and I’d get jealous only because I knew she was so good at what she did and deserved it. She was focused, determined and worked hard on the things she loved, it was always something special watching her on stage or seeing what designs she was coming up with.

I have this video from one of my birthdays, I think I was turning twelve and I can hear my mum in the background say ‘she is so beautiful’, no not me, it was about Lil, and that she is.

We lost her at what I thought then was such a defining (how dramatic – our HSC) time in our lives. I constantly think and wonder what growing up older with her would’ve been like. Would we still be close friends? Would you be living in Australia? Who would you have a crush on? Will we still be the same size so we can borrow each other’s clothes? Do you prefer Red or White? Just mediocre things that are generally taken for granted but I just want to know, you know?

Acknowledging her ten year anniversary this year also meant acknowledging that she has been gone from this life longer than I have known her. I take solace in the wonderful memories I have of her, as well as everything I’ve learnt and felt along the way with dealing with her absence.

It’s never easy bringing myself emotionally and mentally back to those moments after receiving the call. I remember it too well. Even though I wish I never had to move forward from losing someone I love so much, I get to learn and grow from her. My love is never ending, ever enduring, constantly growing and pouring out to those around me. Time with them is everything and I am so unbelievably thankful for the people, especially the women, in my life that share these same feelings of love, fondness and affection for our girl.


This post is dedicated to the memory of Lil Claro and OLMC Class of 2006, who send all the love in the world to her and her family. If you’re ever having a hard time, please talk to your loved ones. Things that matter to you matter to the people who love you. Help is also available here, here and here.

When we both looked at each other and we both smiled but I couldn’t stop smiling…

Preview: Naturally, I did not choose to become a mum so young. I had all expected feelings one would get being 18 and pregnant. And so did my parents. I felt like a failure and a disappointment especially being the eldest child. So, I made a choice and booked a very painful appointment.

Check out the next instalment of Love Stories, “Pragma”, on Wednesday 31 May at 3pm AEST


Written by Candice

May 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Love Stories

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