Nowadays, not a single person would ever survive without having others around. This fact is conditioned by people’s need to communicate and socialize. Therefore, since a young age, children are surrounded by many people, but not many of them become real friends. One may define friends as people they can talk to all the time, while another person would define friends as the ones who share their interests.
Many researches have been conducted to differentiate categories of friendship and explore how it affects our lives. Once Aristotle (2009) stated: “for without friends, no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods” (p. 127). There were many debates concerning what friendship is; thus, there have been established several types of friends. Despite the fact that there are friends of utility, pleasure, and perfect friends, only the perfect friend contributes to relationship most.
The first type of friends is so-called ‘friends of utility.’ It is common knowledge that some people use friends for their profit, whereas others would never think of it. For the prevailing part, every person wants to derive something from friendly relations: support, understanding, or trust. However, some people will manipulate and flatter, trying to receive recognition, social status, or material profit. These people pursue receiving benefits in the first place, and only then think of how they could help their companion.
Typically, utility relationship is incidental and happens when a person asks another one for favor. Such kind of friendship tends to occur between colleagues, business partners, or schoolmates when both sides use each other for their own benefit. This kind of relations occurs, for instance, when an individual asks their co-worker to take their night shift and offers to buy them a ticket to a Broadway show, which the colleague has been dreaming about. Therefore, the relationship between such people are accidental as they occur on the basis of someone’s need.
Utility friendship is easily broken and can be dissolved readily. Moreover, Aristotle (2009) declared that “when the motive of the friendship is done away, the friendship is dissolved, inasmuch as it existed only for the ends in question” (p. 129). The crucial reason is that when one receives something that they wanted from their friend, they tend to concentrate mostly on a deed or an item, and not on the connection itself.
The second type of friends does not presuppose any negative connotations, unlike the previous one, and is named ‘friends for pleasure.’ This kind of friendship usually occurs under the guidance of emotions when you are a kid or a teenager because youths are prone to reckless thinking. Aristotle (2009) noted that friendship of pleasure is mainly typical for youths as the passions they share are massive influences in their lives. For example, when two middle-school guys find out they are both obsessed with punk-rock music, they immediately become close friends and start going out to the concerts or even create their own punk-rock band.
The essential idea of such friendship is that both of you are drawn into each other due to the tastes or values similarity. It even may be similar to the passions that lovers have. Both sides aim at receiving delight from interactive activity or interest. Therefore, if one loves to sing, they join the choir where all of the so-called friends seek for reciprocate satisfaction. However, these are not the friends one can rely upon as all you will do together is have fun.
On the contrary, this type of friends differs from the utility one because, in the latter example, people are looking for a long-term advantage. In contrast, the former kinds pursue to receive present pleasure. Despite the visible difference, the foundation of this friendship also lies in selfishness or self-interest as it supposes receiving some benefit in a form of pleasure or delight. As a result, this relation will not last long, so there is no need for entertaining high expectations for such a friend.
The third kind represents long-term reliable relationships under the name of ‘perfect friendship.’ It is the ideal, secure, and strong connection based on deep respect towards one another. Usually, such fellowship implies intermutual admiring for each other’s goodness and encouraging. Moreover, a perfect partnership assumes having sets of values and principles alike in virtue. In his writing, researchers mentioned that “now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends” (Aristotle, 2009, p. 130). If a person wants a perfect friend, they should choose loving over being loved because goodness is in giving and willing the good to the other.
Considering the fact that flawless friendship is built on goodness, we may assert its long duration. According to Aristotle (2009), “such friends requires time and familiarity; as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they ‘eaten the salt together’” (p. 130). This type encompasses the other two, as real friends will always be helpful to one another and will always please one another. Thus, this friendship is the best, even though one needs some time to develop it as real relations may be tested many times. For instance, when your friend is genuinely excited about your victory in a car race and never thinks of envying, it demonstrates his belief in you.
If such companionship can endure ups and downs, it can be considered valid. However, it is the rarest form of friendship that may occur once in a lifetime if one is lucky enough. For instance, if one of the friends was accused of robbery, the other would either support or reject him in such a hardship. Any outcome depends on a human ability to accept the other person and appreciate him all along.
To sum everything up, it is relevant to mention the necessity of having any friends around. As we found out, there are three types of companions, each of which is important at some point in human life. The first two kinds of friends are likely to vanish due to the self-interested nature; thus, such unities do not endure long. Even though the ideal friendship is hard to find and sustain, it is crucial to have a friend who would always admire and accept you, and it is the only friendship that is true.
Aristotle (2009). The Nicomachean ethics. (Ross, W. D., Trans., & Brown, L., Ed.). University Press. (Original work published in 1893).