Friendship according to Aristotle
According to Aristotle, there are three types of friendships. (1) Those that are based on pleasure , (2) those that are based purely on self interest or utility and (3), those with a special bond between equals who are drawn to each other and receive pleasure and mutual benefits from the relationship and bring out the goodness or highest values in each other.
The first two types of friendships are pleasant and helpful to one, but at the center of the relationship are individuals who are guided by self interest, physical or self gratification, material advantages or improved social status, or some other Unitarian reasons. These are the types of friendships that often become one-sided even though they may at first bring mutual pleasure or advantages and ultimately will not last because they are superficial. The last type, in which the friendship is based on mutual respect and a brotherhood of equals, where mutually respected core values are nurtured by the relationship, is the true type of friendship which we should strive for and is long lasting.
The first type of friendship is based on utility. According to Aristotle, these friendships are common in old people because they need assistance and have grown unpleasant (so few would reach out to them for pleasure) and they don’t reach out to others from pure pleasure of company as much. As Aristotle describes, “This sort of friendship seems to arise especially among older people, since at that age they pursue the advantageous, not the pleasant…” (1156a-24-26) In relationships which are based on utility, friends do not love each other so much as they love the advantages that come out of the friendship. These relationships do not last because ultimately, the two people will find what they are getting out of the relationship will change. Once the utility of the relationship lessens over time or as one party establishes themselves, t...