Everyone would agree that no human beings in the universe can live without friends. Everyone loves to build and maintain friendships whether it is in the society, school or workplace. It is quite natural that people who have the same mentality and who cherish common ideologies tend to come together as friends. Even among animals, one can come across gangs who like their intimacy and presence with each other. Among human beings, it is possible that even people who share different ideologies and outlooks can become intimate friends provided that they can respect others’ differences and understand them on a higher level.
Truly speaking there are no specific criteria for friendship; anyone can be friends as long as there is mutual love, respect, trust, intimacy and understanding between them. The question of whether friends are necessary is relevant in the present day context as the number of true friends diminishes day by day and because of the fact that most of the friendships are, as Aristotle states, either utility or pleasure motivated. No doubt, friends are precious treasures whose value cannot be measured, if they are true and good.
Aristotle considers friendship as one of the most coveted and inevitable parts of one’ s life. He is of the opinion that everyone needs friends whether he/she is poor or rich, in fortune or misfortune. Friends are the innate need of every individual; everyone needs to be cared for, loved, supported, and motivated. Aristotle feels that there should be “ a natural friendship for a child, and a child for a parent” (p. 30) so that the parents can keep their children away from all sorts of wrong actions and can care for them without any communication gaps.
In the modern world, his words are highly relevant as there are a lot of broken families and as young and adolescent children are being easily misled as they do not get the needed love or support from the family. Aristotle is of the opinion that enmity and distrust are the greatest hurdles in the path of good friendships. Aristotle then goes on to deal with some of the most common disputed aspects of friendships.
He feels that there is a general misconception that friendship “ is a sort of similarity and that similar people are friends. ” (p. 31). He disputes this general notion by stating that “ similar people are all like the proverbial potters, quarreling with each other. ” (p. 31). Anyone who has experienced the friendships of people who are similar in many respects would disagree with this generalization of Aristotle.
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