Rings have held deep meanings for centuries and have been given to people for a variety of reasons in almost every country on the globe. The most common reason for exchanging rings is engagement and marriage, but many people are now taking part in the exchange of friendship rings with their platonic friends.
Friendship rings come in pairs. The person who buys or makes them keeps one for herself and gives the other to her best friend. The rings symbolise a true, meaningful friendship between the two wearers, who are as close as two friends can be--as close as sisters.
The appearance of friendship rings is generally simple and without stones. They are often engraved with the word "Friend" or "Friendship." Recently, the Irish Claddah ring has come to be used as a friendship ring, although it is often used to signify romantic relationships, as well.
There is a general belief that men are not supposed to wear friendship rings. This is most likely caused by the masculinity complex and the general feminine feel of the rings but, in reality, there is no cultural reason for men to not wear the rings. It may be especially appropriate for platonic relationships between men and women.
Promise Rings versus Friendship Rings
Friendship and promise rings are very similar, both in meaning and appearance. The main difference is that promise rings have romantic inclinations. Promise rings acknowledge depth of emotion and a personal bond with the future intention of engagement and marriage. Friendship rings acknowledge depth of feeling and a close bond, but without a romantic element.
If you're going to give a friendship ring to someone who has any possibility of mistaking it for a promise or engagement ring, make sure to be completely clear, right away, about your strictly platonic feelings. Also, do not attempt to use the friendship ring as a clandestine way to attach yourself to someone you're attracted to. By giving a friendship ring, you are expressly saying that you are not interested in a romantic relationship.