Human beings are social creatures. They strive for companionship with others. Although there are some people that might find pleasure in solitude until they reach the state of insanity, it seems clear that the majority of people do seek companionship if possible. Central among these companionships are friendships. For some people, this is what makes life worthwhile, the presence of friends. Aristotle found friendship important. Friendship is a sort of goodness, or at the least implies it. The good life finds its high point in the virtue of friendship.
Friendship is what really measures a good man. With friendship one is not following laws, he is naturally giving and receiving, a mutual sharing of things in life. Wanting friendship is natural instinct, and for the most part there is no escaping friendship in some form or another. If one is involved in community life, marriage, or plainly has a family in general, friendship will cross the path.
Throughout our life we get into different kinds of relationships. Some relationships we cannot choose like family ties. These are relationships we are born in, and we cannot break them anymore than we can stop breathing. Even denying their existence does not change the fact that your mother and father, brother and sister, are who they are. Other relationships are not forced upon us but we do not have complete control over them, like who we fall in love with. We do not choose who we want to fall in love with even though we do choose the situations that makes it possible for the feelings to appear. The third kind of relationships are friendships. Friendships are the most important kind of relationships you can be involved in. One of the reasons is that you can choose your friend, unlike your family. But what kind of friend you are, depends solely on your character. Friendships bring out the best in us, and a man without friends could never find out the best in himself. A true person would never choose to live without friends even if he had all the other goods of life.
We tend to consider people friends, even though they are not close and do not spend much time with them. Examples of these might be colleagues, fellow students, neighbors and even your mailman. They might not be close friends, but they are friends in some sense of the word. Although they are friends that are here today and gone tomorrow, they are important because they are your connection to the rest of the world. Sometimes there is an inequality, and a way of balance must be found. Just as money differs on various kinds of products, qualifications and contributions differ in most friendships. To Aristotle a true friend is a semi mirror image of oneself. True Friends share more than just mutual enjoyment of each other s company. They are also soulmates. Only the true man can become a true friend. The reason is that only the true man will seek out the ultimate good, and among the goods, there is the true friend. A man cannot be self-sufficient without a friend because he would be missing a key component to what a self-sufficient man should have. In his friend, he sees the reflection of himself, and he discovers new sides within himself that he would not otherwise be able to find. The friend becomes an extension of himself. They would be two souls dwelling in one body.
Having true friends should be the center of what a moral person should have and work for. The way to get to the world is through your friends. Since we are political beings, we do not live in a vacuum. Our friends do have other friends besides us, and we become friends by connection. Gathering a circle of friends leads us to the entire world.
In order for someone to be a good friend they would have to like what is within themselves. Only a good person is capable of self-love, since the bad person would loathe what he would find in himself. It is the hallmark of a good person to have good friends because good tends to attract good. The good person would be attracted to other good people, even though it is self-serving. There is also a puzzle about whether one ought to love oneself or someone else most of all. Those who love everybody but themself will end up loving nobody, but those who love themself and no one else will shun their fellow man and in turn will not love everyone else as much as they are capable of. Only friends can help you distribute the love you have for the world and for yourself.
The true person would do what was in his long term self-interest. This often leads to the good of other people because a true person receives pleasure from it. In friendship, he is cultivating a good relationship for himself, but he is also promoting his friend. Through his friendship, he has to deal with many other people that is in some ways related to his friend. Knowing that his friend might be hurt if something would happen to them, it would be in his self-interest to promote their happiness too. It is in this sense that we can reach the world through friendship. We are promoting the good of the world through our own wish for self-preservation. And when everyone contends to achieve what is fine and strains to do the finest actions, everything that is right will be done for the common good, and each person individually will receive the greatest of goods, since that is the character of virtue quoted by Aristotle. Human nature is generally good and is the indicator of how we should act. Since human nature seems to promote relationships, it is clear that friendships are the best kind of relationships. In order to have a healthy friendship, one must be able to give as well as receive. If you wish good things in this way, but the same is not returned by the other, you would be said to have [only] goodwill for the other. For friendship is said to be reciprocated goodwill another quote from Aristotle.
For the majority of people, the best they can hope for is the friendship of pleasure. Even though it is true that friendship can only grow into true friendship over time, it does not mean that young people are incapable of experiencing it. There are friendships among young people that go beyond pleasure. They have all the characteristics of true friendship without the participants being old men. Rather than claiming that only a select few are capable of true friendships, one should rather hold that most people are capable of this kind of friendship. It does not mean that everybody will experience it in their lifetime. Since friendship is a matter of meeting the right person, and being interested enough to develop the relationship into a friendship, many might be blind to potential friendships.
True friends must also have the same type of values. We cannot imagine being friends with someone who does not share our values. I am not thinking about values like, what color or car brand you prefer, but rather moral values that are the basis for who you are. It seems plausible that a Serbian and Albanian could not be friends, even if they shared the same hobbies. Their values would be too different to sustain the friendship. It seems equally clear that you could not trust someone who lies a lot, so friendship with a bad person insofar as we are talking about a true friendship seems impossible.
There seems to be many people in our life, that we do favors for and who do favors for us, without anyone calling it a friendship. These people are incomplete friends. Man is a social animal and it s our nature to enjoy being with others. Friendship is the stronghold for community, family, and married life. In all times of life man needs friends. The young need to be shown what to do, and the old need to be cared for. Friendship is a virtue.
In order to be happy, one needs, sufficient external goods, health, opportunity to practice and actual practice of moral values (such as courage, justice, and generosity), opportunity to practice and actual practice of intellectual values (such as science and reasoning), friends, and good luck. Even the self-sufficient man needs friends to be generous to. He also needs sufficient external goods to exercise his generosity. Those who have only enough or less than enough are unable to give to their friends. Finally, we need friends to practice thinking and acting. We can think by ourselves, but conversation with friends increases our learning. Friendship also binds citizens together in the community. Where there is friendship, there is no need to enforce action through justice. Nothing can teach the art of goodness more than that of friendship.
Without friends to share the good and the bad, I think life would lose its luster. How could a good man be good without friends? To not have friends would mean to live off in the woods all alone like a hermit. This is not a true person, one who would not share of himself and hide alone and live a secluded life. If one thought of himself in any worth, he would want to share his worth with someone.
In all, to be true one’s self, one needs self-love. If one fully loves himself, he/she would take part in friendship knowing that it is not only good for them, but for others as well. Two kinds of self-love exist. One includes yourself, and one includes others. To realize your own best interest and mold them together with the welfare of others is actualizing one s ideal self. Friendship is sharing in the search for truth and good with one or others. If one were truly good, he would want to share his dreams and aspirations in life with his friends. By way of true friendship with others, good men uncover happiness which in turn adds to their own goodness.