Human beings are social creatures. They strive for companionship with others. Although there are some people that might find pleasure in solitude, 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. Friendship is a sort of goodness, or at the least implies it. When taking a closer, more specific look at this kind of relationship, one is not only able to create connotations for the word, but are also able to experience the true advantages gained through the virtue of friendship.
Friendship in essence is what really measures a good person. With friendship one is not following laws, one 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 lives, 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 one of the most important kinds of relationships you can be involved in. One reason for this is that you can choose your friend, unlike your family. But what kind of friend you are, depends on your character. Friendships bring out the best in us, and a person without friends has serious difficulty accomplishing that feat.
Most of us tend to consider many people friends, even if 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. True Friends share more than just mutual enjoyment of each other’s company. Only someone true to their own self can become a true friend. The reason for that is only the true individual will seek out the ultimate good, and among the goods, there is that friend. One cannot be self-sufficient without a friend because that element or bond of friendship provides strengths in the areas of weakness, while same goes for the other person in the relationship. In true friendships, people see the reflection of themselves as well, and they discover new sides within themselves that they would not otherwise be able to find. The friend becomes an extension of that person.
Having true friends is the foundation for building connections in life. For many, the way to the world is through their friends. Through friendships people are introduced to new people, and as that new friendship grows the same process occurs again. Gathering a circle of close friends and continuing to allow that circle to grow can leads us to the entire world.
In order for people to be good friends they must have love for themselves. For ages there have been people who have struggled over the puzzle about whether one ought to love oneself or someone else most of all. Those who love everybody but themselves will end up loving nobody, but those who love themselves and no one else will shun their fellow man and in turn receive little love from others. Only friends can help you distribute the love you have for the world and for yourself. For example, when I first entered high school I had decided that my few friends and I were the only normal people there. I wasted two years of high school sitting at the lunch table everyday, complaining about everyone there and how much I disliked the whole atmosphere. Once I opened my mind and decided to accept other people’s views and style’s, I was able to make a few key friendships which enabled me to eventually befriend numerous people. It was through this experience that I was first truly able to reap some of the many rewards of friendship.
The true friend does what is best for the long term when it comes to a friendship. This often leads to a pay-off for the two. In friendship, one is cultivating a good relationship for oneself, but he is also promoting his friend. Through that friendship, one has to deal with many other people that are 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 our connections.
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” a quote from the great philosopher, Aristotle.
When entering a friendship one hopes for the best, in that something productive is being made. Even though it is proven that friendship can only grow into a truly close 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 lifelong friendship without the participants being old men. At the same time, there are many that claim that only a select few are capable of true friendships, in reality everyone with an open mind is capable of any friendship. 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 find they have similar types of values. It is hard to imagine being friends with someone who does not share similar 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 Serb and Albanian could not be friends, even if they shared the same hobbies. Their religious values would be too different to sustain the friendship. In the same way, many people are unable to befriend those who compulsively lie. Without the factor of trust in a relationship it is destined to one-day end.
There seems to be many people in our lives, 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 most people need 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 could not be a well-rounded person, one who would not be a productive contributor to society and choose to hide alone and live a secluded life. If one considers oneself to be of any worth, he should want to share his worth and the gifts God gave them with others.
All in all, to be true oneself, that person needs self-love. When that is accomplished and one fully knows oneself, he/she can 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 and others. The people who get the most out of friendship want to share their dreams and aspirations in life with their friends as well as grow and mature with them. By way of true friendship with others, good people uncover happiness that in turn adds to their own goodness.