Monthly Archives: August 2012

The meaning of friends

I’ve often wondered what it means to have a ‘friendship’, what it means to identify someone as a ‘friend’.

I’ve never held a proper definition as to what constitutes a friend; usually it’s just been someone that I got along with at the time, regardless of anything else (so what they value, morals, etc). Such an approach has lead me to my current position where I don’t see some of the people that I know as friends anymore because my definition of a friend has changed over time and I now have a more concrete definition. I actually don’t even have many ‘friends’, it’s usually been 4-5 people where about half of them I’ve known since high school, and the rest are people that I met afterwards.

These days my definition of friendship is along the lines of someone who is similar to yourself, they don’t have to share all of your views (stuff like belief in God, political leanings even although it would depend), rather I’d prefer that they share your morals, values, and general life approach. I like this quote by Aristotle about friendship: The excellent person is related to his friend in the same way as he is related to himself, since a friend is another self; and therefore, just as his own being is choiceworthy him, the friend’s being is choice-worthy for him in the same or a similar way.

I like the idea of a friend being another self but I don’t know anyone like that. The type of ‘friends’ that I don’t like are the type who can’t (and won’t) think for themselves, who won’t question certain things, who go about life in a passive daze, who say “I want people to like me for who I am” when they don’t even know what constitutes that “who I am”, or the type that mechanically ask “how are you” not because they’re genuinely interested, but because they think that it’s expected of them to ask such questions and so on. Unfortunately most of the people that I know fall under these descriptions, whilst the others are variations.

The ‘sad’ part to it all is that I really don’t know anyone else in my life whom I can identify with, at the very least, partly as a friend. Nobody to go out with somewhere and have a serious conversation with that doesn’t involve gossip, talking about the latest superhero movie or other immature stuff. As much as I like my space, essentially my loneliness (which I’ve known since I was young), it would still be nice to have just one person that I can get along with on an intellectual level.