How can we meet to support one another?
All you love, if you let it go, it will return. That is like friendship when true and honest.
What is the value of friendship? And how can we meet to support one another?
Among the most elusive relationship, friendship among men is enigmatic, difficult to reproduce, and valuable beyond belief.
Even when we admit friendship is important, we neglect them if we are honest about where we spend our time and attention.
How can men meet to support one another? I want to know what it takes to be your friend.
As you may expect, Aristotle had something to say about friendship.
He describes three layers of friendship: based on utility, based on pleasure, and based on goodness. Let’s talk about each.
Friendship Based on Utility
Nothing wrong with people with whom you have stuff in common. Good friends, all. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
Friendship Based on Pleasure
Same deal, but it is fun, too.
Friendship Based on Goodness
This is the goodness of both friends; you wish each other all the goodness life offers. You know that someone who supports you will never boo your accomplishments or pull you down. A friend is happy when you succeed; they succeed, too!
Aristotelian unconditional friendship also is based on pleasure and utility. Why not have a good friend be both pleasurable and useful as well? Careful there! By useful, remember who you are is a reflection of your five closest friends.
It takes time, intimacy, and vulnerability to develop friendships. Space to grow; just hold space for them to talk out loud without always trying to fix stuff.
While we all want friendship now. That’s a dream. Friends both need to be worthy of love and trustworthy. Trust is built.
Unconditional friendship is based upon all three layers of friendship. How does Aristotile suggest we meet to support one another? Surround yourself with goodness, pleasure, and utility.
Intrinsic Reward of Friendship
Friendship, while neglected, does have intrinsic rewards. Intimacy leads to quantity time, honesty, acceptance, and loyalty based upon authenticity. There are no red flags or things too uncomfortable to talk about right now. Or not. You have time and history together.
Special, close friendships have unique qualities, and cherished friendships survive the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and especially the differences. You don’t kick someone out just because he is not a Republican as you are!
Indeed, you celebrate triumphs together, nurse each other through the great issues of our time, laugh about how things used to be, and quarrel and make up. We learn to say hard things like I’m sorry and I love you.
For me, the good fortune of friendship allows me to throw out half-formed thoughts and half-baked ideas, or worse. Not to be corrected, or fixed, just because I need to speak in order to find myself.
Friendship salves our bruised spirits, offers mutual self-love, and is based upon self-confidence.
Oh, the comfort—the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts, nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them—keep what is worth keeping— and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~A Life for a Life (1859)
We aim to lead a balanced life. Too much of anything is too much. Friendship balance is important even though men underact on friendship.
Action includes both calling more of some men and less of others; it is ok to let friendships go. Let go of people who are energy vampires or who otherwise try to attach their baggage to your empathy. Compassionately let it go, forgive them, and let it go.
There are highs and lows to every friendship of note. Intend to have equanimity as a bare minimum standard: do you feel better or worse after hanging out with them?
Cull friendships even if that means you are lonely. There are no savings important enough for free bad advice.
As Victim or as Gallant Fighter
There are only two ways to approach life—as victim or as gallant fighter—and you must decide if you want to act or react, deal your cards or play with a stacked deck. And if you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you. ~Merle Shain
If you don’t decide which way to play with life, it plays with you. True. Even in Friendships.
Needs and Wants from Friendship
Here we go with the economics of friendship. What are your needs and wants?
All meaningful relationships require time, energy, and loyalty.
One-sided relationships are common among those from emotionally immature homes. It happens. You have seen it. Commonly.
Only when both care enough to make time and clear space to listen to what is said without comment or judgment, read between the lines (which is a skill that increases the longer the friendship), and respond spontaneously from a place of love and kindness without any calculations as to who is winning.
A good friendship is serendipity.
Stretch Your Friendship
How can I specifically contribute to the friendship this week? What exceptional quality do you want to bring out in your friend? Act and tell him he is important to you.
The reward of having close friends is what? What is limiting you from having more friends? These are my best and worst qualities as a friend… what do you take responsibility for in the process of moving acquaintances into more intimate friends?
What is the Value of Friendship?
I want to know what it takes to be your friend.
The Israelites only wandered for 40 years. Many of us stumble around longer than that before we realize we are loveable. And worthy of friendship. It took me 48 years, but I have made better friends in the last year than before I woke up from a bad dream (or whatever life was for me before then).
I am here to find myself. You are here to find yourself. This is not a question of pride (in the religious sense) vs. self-confidence. We both know when friendship works. Don’t slander my vision of reality. Let’s together be full of pride and self-confidence.
The value of friendship is a higher power that provides space and allows us to support one another.
It is unselfish caring wrapped in a soft vulnerability and commitment. We tolerate our foibles and freedoms because, hey, they are hilarious and awe-inspiring! You go, man and take me with you! And I’ll carry you sometimes, too.
Friendship – Platonic Love – lasts a lifetime. It can unfold over time, freely chosen, not heavy because you carry the yoke of lifetimes on your back. The value of friendship is that you can be your authentic self.