blogging gobbledygook and such

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…

Comments on: "Do you agree with Aristotle about the three kinds of friendships?" (5)

  1. i like this line a lot: “if someone has many friends, they have none.”

    but i’ve no idea whether that holds true for everyone else. at first glance, people and society may seem easy to comprehend…but in actual reality, they are complex issues which are difficult to explain/describe/explorate.

    i’ve an extremely limited circle of ‘friends of virtue’, but they are people i trust with my life. πŸ˜‰

    sulz: you’re right, friendship is so complex, which is why am kind of questioning aristotle’s categorisation of friends.

    well, that bit aristotle has definitely got it right. lucky you – have no virtuous friends as such at the moment. but maybe in the future. πŸ™‚

  2. lovelyloey said:

    I think the classifications work to a certain extent, but these boundaries are always transient. Like you said, what started out as a friendship of usefulness can turn to friendship of virtue. To me, every friend fits into every category, but just at a different point in time. On a casual day out just to chill out, my friends are friends of pleasure, on days when they do things that hurt me and yet I still stand by them, they are friends of virtue, (and sadly, also friends of usefulness because I stand by them because they are still somewhat useful to me). So the categories are always shifting.

    sulz: so in that sense we can’t truly classify our friends, can we, since they never fit into one category at all times?

    maybe aristotle’s concept isn’t workable in this day and age… ?

  3. “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”

    beautifully said sulz. false and too high expectations are some major reasons people dont have good friends, the kind as dave says you would trust with your life. that is a scary thing.

    another reason i guess is that it is difficult to trust. the closer some one is the greater damage they are capable of πŸ™‚

    i have writen about this i think.



    sulz: am saying that, and am guilty of that as well. 😳 but sometimes, you just can’t force yourself to put that best friend label on someone because you feel you ought to in the context, you get what am trying to say?

    we have pretty major trust issues, perhaps. πŸ˜‰

  4. I guess I just see it as a matte of semantics. I do not classify mutual social hopping acquaintances as a “friendship”. I see the other two as one and the same. And I totally disagree with the statement that if one has many friends then they have none. That suggests shallowness and may be true in some cases but it is also a statement where “one size does not fit all”.

    sulz: and yet people use the word ‘friend’ when sometimes referring to an acquaintance, which leads one to wonder if such people take the meaning of friendship so superficially, or if they are so earnest in their friendship… πŸ˜‰

    well, actually, have not heard of an exception to that statement because people usually have a small set of close friends that they separate from their casual / social set of friends. exceptions to the (so-called) rule?

  5. I’d say friendship can’t really be explained. You might become best friends with someone you hate from the core of the heart and as you said, you might become friends with somebody who’s intelligent and then it turns out that he’s really cool too and you become friends forever.

    But yeah, there are some people who make friends only for their personal benefit. These guys may seem the best people around but really they’re just parasites. When you lose your good qualities or when they’re done with you, you’ll be as alone as ever.

    sulz: urgh, have totally experienced the kind of parasites you described. only that she was befriending self for the sake of badmouthing self to her friends, rather than using self. which in a way am being used as gossip material… thinking about that bitch still makes self mad. πŸ‘Ώ

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