In Aristotle’s Rhetoric, there’s an interesting quote on friendship:
A friend is one who is active in providing another with the things that he thinks are benefits to him.
It’s a relevant quote. Let’s start at the beginning: “A friend is one who is active…” Right off the bat, most people get an F. We live in the age of social media, where friendship is made up of “likes”. People gain a million of these “friends,” failing to see the irony. The more popular they are online, the more isolated they become in real life.
For by active, we are talking about DEEDS.
The second part of the quote is also telling: “…providing another with the things that he thinks are benefits to him.” The part of the quote is a personal challenge. It requires us to ask ourselves some introspective questions: Am I offering my friends anything of benefit? What do I do for them? Can I do more?
We forget that friends are more than audience members. Friendship is an active interchange and, like so many things of value, is something that involves a bit of work.
See Related Article: On the Dangers of Sophistry