Love is not linear. Love is a spectrum.
There are several loves. None is superior or inferior to another. There is no hierarchy with “friendship”, inferior, at the bottom, and “romance”, superior, at the top.
Friendship is a love as powerful and redeeming as romance.
I get no credit for mentioning this. Ancient Greek thinkers are most famous for defining it. They saw four loves; their language had four words for “love”. I won’t take your time. You can look them up. Or, you can read “The Four Loves”, by the great C.S. Lewis.
Friendship is not a consolation prize.