Building Deep Friendships to Help You Thrive and Grow
- The ancient Greek philosophers pondered many things and Aristotle did some especially profound thinking about true friendship, which is still relevant today. He said, “Wishing to be friends is quick work. But friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
- Many people today have become disgusted with the news regardless of where it comes from or what political camp the reporter seems to lean toward. For the most part, they’ve turned off the news and the negativity that, inevitably, comes with it.
- Not watching or listening to the news frees up time. Cultivating friendship takes time and working on developing meaningful relationships with your extra time is a good use of it.
- Spending time on something substantive, like building friendships, makes life better. After all, it’s those deep, ripe friendships that truly matter, in the end.
My wife is my BFF. If you know what that means, you know I’m saying she’s my best friend forever, hands down. Why do I say this? I started thinking about this when I came across a quote from Aristotle, saying, “Wishing to be friends is quick work. But friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
Aristotle took this concept a lot further in his writings and I think what he had to say is still relevant today. He discusses three kinds of friendship: friendship of utility, friendship of pleasure, and friendship of the good. All three types of friendship are important and serve unique purposes in our lives:
- Friendship of utility. This category includes people like classmates, colleagues, business associates, and also insurance agents, attorneys, doctors. Though you may have known one another a long while, the relationship functions in a utilitarian way.
- Friendship of pleasure. This type is made up of people with whom you attend leisurely events or maybe you have lunch or dinner together. Maybe you golf or play tennis with them, go to the movies, et cetera. There are many pleasurable activities you might enjoy doing with these friends.
- Friendship of the good. About 2,400 years ago, the Greeks, when trying to gain a better understanding of freedom, said of ‘friendship of the good,’ “This is the highest and best use of friendship.” In fact, at that time they believed—and I think it’s still true today—that societies with many citizens who engaged in ‘friendship of the good’ would thrive and grow.
I believe the United States has thrived because we have a great number of people who work to develop this third type of friendship. That said, recently, the majority of people I know have turned off the news. The information that passes for news has gotten so bad, they can’t stand listening to it at all, regardless of what perspective it comes from or what media platform it’s on.
If that’s true, what are people doing with the extra time? How are you spending the extra time you have now that you’ve turned off the news? At least for me, and maybe for you too, pursuing friendship of the good is a wonderful way to use that time. This means building those relationships and enjoying the fruits of that as they ripen. It’s just better for all of us.
For me, it almost acts as a sort of antidote that counteracts all of the horrible things we see and hear about in the news media. Focusing on all the information pushed on us by the reporters and talking heads can drive us crazy, make us angry, put us in bad moods, and any number of other negative states of mind. Developing and deepening friendships actually gives us something substantive and meaningful to do.
I’m not suggesting you go out and get the flowing white robes and hang around talking about ancient Greek philosophy or engage in shallow talk. What I am saying is consider using the extra time to build those deep friendships that, ultimately, truly matter more than anything else in life. I love the Greek philosophers and especially Aristotle’s understanding of the different types of friendships and how they help societies thrive.
The next time you’re getting aggravated while watching the news, consider turning it off and having a great conversation with a good friend instead. Deliberately develop your friendship of the good. Until next time, enjoy.
Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business Battlefield. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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