Friendship types from Aristotle

Sometimes the old is way better than the new. In this case, Thomas mentioned three types of friendship as introduced by Aristotle. Fascinating stuff.

Here they are:

  1. Friendships based on utility. In this type of friendship, both people derive some form of benefit from each other. Aristotle views this friendship as shallow, because it can be easily broken. It is basically a friendship around things you need from the other person. As soon as you don’t need each other anymore, the relationship tends to be over.
  2. Friendships based on pleasure. This type differs from a friendship based on utility, because it is not about what you need, but about what you like about the other person. It can be about looks or about certain qualities you admire. Again, as soon as the thing you liked before is gone, the friendship probably won’t last long.
  3. Friendships based on goodness. Aristotle describes the first two types as short-lived, because what you need and what you like tends to change over time. The third variant is around you and your friends’ character, where you actually enjoy each other because of who you are. This is the highest level of friendship: brotherly (or sisterly) love. It is a relationship more about giving than receiving. These friendships tend to be long lasting.

It might be really worthwhile to review your friendships, to try and figure out in which of the three categories it falls. If you want to invest in a friend, focus on a relationship based on goodness. With that, you’ll probably get what you need and what you like on top of it as well.

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