Aristotle divided friendships into three types: friendships for usefulness, friendships for pleasure, and friendships of virtue.
The first kind of friend is the one who will get you a job or membership of an exclusive club; the second makes you laugh. But in both cases the point of the friendship is that they provide something of separate value to you. True friendship, the third kind, is valued for itself. There are few numerical limits on the first two kins – I can have a vast business network and hundreds of agreeable acquaintances – but true friendship is, by definition, a limited field: if someone has many friends, they have none.
– Source unknown
This is part of a text used for a comprehension exercise in Proficiency.
So, what do you think? Thought Aristotle identified the types well, but do not believe they are mutually exclusive. A friendship that may be cultivated for its usefulness may very well turn out to be pleasurable, and if both friends work at it, be lifelong friends and achieve the ultimate in friendship.
And yet, how do we define the ultimate friend? Perhaps we are so busy putting conditions and definitions of the dream best friend that we fail to see that we actually have one in our lives, just because this friend does not conform to our expectations…