Navigating Relationships: Strive For Good Friendships

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is slow-ripening fruit.”

Aristotle, Greek Philosopher

Many of my friends tease me that I should run for mayor. They’re always amused that I seem to bump into other friends whenever we hang out. To be honest, I don’t socialize much and I prefer to be by myself most of the time. Although I’m introverted, I make myself open and accepting of people who will come my way. Being an extroverted introvert, I can socialize well in comfortable situations.

I love my friends and I’m very supportive of them. I try to journey with them in the capacity that we’re able to give and receive. Though I have many friends, there are select few whom I’ve let into my deepest levels. An inner circle that I can come home to.

These days, meaningful friendships are hard to come by. We have several friends on Facebook but I bet you only ever connect with a few of them in real life. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggested that there is a limit to the number of maintainable social relationships we can have, and that is 150. If this is so, how can we make sense of our circles?

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, said that friendships can be classified into three. Let’s have a look!

The 3 Types of Friendships

Friendships of Utility

This is the kind of friendship that you might have with officemates, business partners, and study groups to name a few. Friendships like these are formed when both people in the relationship can benefit from each other. In the office setting, for example, one would befriend a person from another department because you can share valuable information to have leverage at work. Friendships like these end quickly, especially if the use of one person ends or doesn’t bring value anymore.

Friendly or user friendly? Friendships of utility are not necessarily bad. They just don’t have much quality and depth.

Friendships of Pleasure

This friendship satisfies our pursuit of enjoyment. We experience this kind of friendship in joining groups with shared interests or hanging out with a go-to person doing hobbies you both enjoy at the moment. School clubs, shopping buddies, and gym buddies are some examples that come to mind. These friendships can be short-lived as one’s interests and priorities may change and the connection would be lost.

For the first two kinds of friendship, the motivations to remain friends is not enough for it to last. They mainly focus on the benefit and pleasure the friendship brings. However, these two kinds have the potential to be nurtured and turn into the best kind of friendship we can have, which brings us to…

Friendship of the Good (Virtue)

True friendship. Also called the friendship of virtue is the most important and preferred kind of friendship to have of the three. It often lasts a long time, even until the end. 

Friendships like these are between people who help each other in pursuit of the same goal of the good life and becoming better versions of themselves. It is a friendship where you value the person instead of what you can gain from them, and genuinely care for them. These are friends who does not let us fall into ruin by correcting us, and telling what we need to hear even if it stings. There is respect, and a strong desire for each other to grow more in virtue and goodness.

This shared “goodness” in friendship satisfies both affections received in friendships of utility and pleasure. Friendships like these are rare so if you happen to be in one, water it, nurture it, and take care of it.

This is the kind of friendship we should prefer, seek, and strive for.


Strive For Good Friendships

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

True friendships are not simply born by clicking a “Friend Request” button. Friendship, like all relationships, needs the commitment to grow deeper. For us to have good friends, we must be a good friend ourselves.

You might ask, “But I only have friendships of pleasure. Is there hope for me to have better friends?” Yes! I think it’s fine to only have friendships of pleasure or utility or both. Only having these types of friendships isn’t necessarily bad. Deep virtuous friendships can start from here if both risks being vulnerable with each other and work on the relationship for it to grow. Honor the friendship someone can give, trust but still be discerning of who you let into your inner circle.

Pure gold is tested by fire. Friendships are tested by shared challenges, conflict, and adversity. I’ve had my fair share of this and some of the friendships I’ve held close fell apart and some endured the test and blossomed. The ones who stick with you after being tried, you should keep forever!

Good relationships bear good fruit. For plants to bear good fruit, it needs to be watered, given enough sunlight, fed enough fertilizer, and sometimes go through needed pruning. In friendships, you get to experience life with another person, loving them for who they are, supporting them, and desiring the best for them. When you have good friends they’ll also want the same things for you. Friendships are one of the best gifts life can offer.

Comment what you think of Aristotle’s three kinds of friendships below! Do you struggle in growing your friendships? Are your friendships adding goodness to your life? What kind of friendships do you mostly have in your life right now?

Link to first: Navigating Relationships: Level Up Your Communication

Sources:

Fr Michael Schmitz, “Don’t Have Any Friends?

Zat Rana, Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship Still Matters Today

Ian Tang, 3 Kinds of Friends You Meet In Life


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Remembering Good Things

One of the most amazing abilities that we have is the capacity to remember. Remembering allows us to reconnect with experiences that have already happened, and relive them again. To engage with past sights, sounds, smells, and feelings again are empowering. It enables us to see things in a new light and may remind us of the goodness of life if you know where to look.

I have been missing so many things lately. So right now, journey with me as I take you through some experiences I’m grateful for, that made my life worth living.

Steak! Excuse my camera skills!

Good Food

It was a special day. After sending pictures of food and searching for restaurant recommendations I and my friends ended up having lunch in a nearby steakhouse. Eating something luxurious always brightens up days where stress consumes you. A kind server came to our table with a polite “What can I get you?” We would always order the cheapest item on the menu but this time, we decided on getting our choice prime cuts. “Medium rare please! With a side of rice.”

Our eyes lit up as the steak arrives at our table on a hot platter. You should’ve seen it! It was so glorious, deserving of applause. We took pictures of it – immortalizing the mouth-watering beauty in social media. The steak was cooked to perfection. We squeezed lemon on it, sliced it, revealing an immaculate gradient of pink, and excitedly took it close to our mouths with a fork. A rush of joy went over us as we had our first perfect bite.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Amazing Coffee

I always enjoyed breathing in the air every time I enter my go-to cafe. The smell of freshly roasted coffee invades me with so much positive energy. “How’s it going?” greets my friend at the bar before taking my order. I would always get myself a hot strong blend and sit at my favorite nook, slowly sipping away at my cup. 

Drinking coffee is not complete without my friends. Time quickly passes by as we hang out and have conversations that won’t seem to end, pausing only to fuel it more with coffee. With every sip, a slightly different taste unfolds as the coffee reveals its characteristic blend. We get to the bottom of our cups, but the conversation goes on. “Should we get another cup?”

Adventure under the sun 🙂

Genuine Warmth

The sky was the perfect shade of blue and the sun radiated a friendly warmth as my friend and I walked through a grassy field. Our laughter would sometimes mingle with the gentle breeze of air. There were deep sighs of gratitude as we took in the views of the distant mountains and cornfields. We walked on dirt roads having cows and chickens as our companions.

It was almost high noon and the sun was already scorching, so we took shelter under a tree, and ate the bread we took from the breakfast table. As we sat there we couldn’t help but be thankful. It’s not every day that we get to experience something like this where you can just be. Life is good and everything is enough. 

Reliving Good Memories

Our memories are treasures. Make your heart remember the good things it has experienced. When times get rough and when the road ahead gets dark, open up your treasure, and remind yourself that everything will be better soon. 

What is your favorite uplifting memory that you’ll dive into today?


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