Interesting idea, Chalice! Thanks for starting this thread.
In his book, “The Four Loves,” C.S. Lewis devotes a chapter to friendship. He describes how a good friendship differs from a romantic relationship. When two people are lovers, the primary purpose/goal of the relationship is each other–the intimate relationship is an end in itself. With friendship, however, an interest, cause, or goal the friends share is what brings them together, and keeps them together. Yes, love and intimacy can and should develop, but they are side benefits, not the primary reason for the relationship.
Lewis said (and I paraphrase) “While lovers are staring into each other’s eyes, friends are standing shoulder to shoulder seeking new horizons.” It’s the passion and drive of a shared goal, a shared life purpose, even if it’s simply to survive, that makes “friendish” people into friends who would die for each other. I don’t believe there’s any culture in the world where people, whether of the same or opposite gender, who are truly just friends, spend a lot of time thinking about each other and their relationship, let alone expressing lots of verbal or physical affection for each other. But they may spend all their time together, rebuilding a broken wall, cooking a feast, or saving the world. I think that’s the secret to writing a great friendship.