An article based on different kinds of friendships by Aristotle got me thinking about why friendships based on convenience and advantage are considered to be so selfish. In this account, I would like to bring in the different kinds of friendships and my point of view on utility-based friendships.
We are born with some relationships while others we create. Friendships are the bonds we make and tend to cherish them for as long as they are true and full of love and laughter. This article is based on “Friendships” inspired by Aristotle’s book “The Nicomachean Ethics” whereby he discusses the three ingredients of a good friendship. ‘Friends must enjoy each other’s company, they must be useful to one another, and they must share a common commitment to the good.’
According to him, there are three kinds of friendships:
1) Friendship Based On Utility:
The utility is impermanent and changes according to circumstances. Friendships based on utility and advantage do not last long because those people bonded in that friendship lack time for each other and rarely have genuine affection or mutual feelings towards each other. So with the change in utility and disappearance of friendship grounds, the bond gradually weakens and the people eventually drift apart. People in these relationships derive pleasure in that bond for as long as they have hopes of benefit and advantage from that ‘friendship.’
2) Friendship based on pleasure:
Friendships between younger people are mostly based on the pleasure and enjoyment they desire from each other. With growing age, their choices undergo constant changes and it is quite easy for them to make new bonds and let go of the ones who no longer share their interests. There are many instances where they display drastic changes in attitudes with people they know and claim to be friends with, sometimes even within the same day.
3) Perfect Friendship Is Based On Goodness:
A true friendship bond is one based on good intentions and mutual feelings for each other. These individuals wish for the best for each other and love them for who they are without trying to change their friend’s inner selves. Friendships of these kinds show how the people connected in these bonds are there for each other every step of the way. These friendships are permanent and the bond between these people is based on trust, love, affection and admiration for each other.
In my personal opinion, bonds based on advantages and interests cannot be classified as a ‘friendship’ but more like an ‘association’ or ‘acquaintance.’ One cannot make friends with everybody they meet but at the same time, not every friendship can be based on goodness and perfection. Hence, I think that the negative guy connotation attached to convenience and interest-based friendships should be removed and people should not be made to feel guilty about such relationships, which are necessary and equally unavoidable in today’s world.