Yesterday I read an interesting article in ST MYB by Gary Hayden. In the article, he talks about friends, and how Greek philosopher Aristotle defines friends into three varieties – friendship of utility, friendships of pleasure and perfect friendships.
Friendships of utility are formed between people who are useful to one another, much like business partners, or colleagues, who do not socialize outside of work. These friendships are formed principally to serve one needs are thus are selfish affairs.
Friendships of pleasure are formed between people who share common interests or enjoyment, like members of a club, or between people who like to share a joke together.
Perfect friendships are true and lasting friendships based on mutual affection and regard. People value others not merely because they are useful or pleasant, but because of their character and who they are. They develop only between people whose loyalty and good intentions towards one another have been proven over time. Such friendships are rare and precious.
Hayden says Facebook friends are often friends of utility or pleasure, formed to satisfy our craving for affirmation, build support for our per causes. We have no real interest in these ‘friends’. They lack depth, although they do brighten our days when we receive sympathetic messages or birthday greetings from them.
True and deep friendships need to be grounded in the real world rather than the virtual world. We cannot truly love someone unless we know them and we cannot know them unless we spend time with them, face to face.
So yesterday afternoon, on a long bus ride home, i started analysing my friends and true enough, my perfect friends do not even have any Facebook accounts. Most of my Facebook friends are ‘Pleasure’ friends as I am not working and thus do not have ‘Utility’ friends in them. (And I really wouldn’t ‘friend’ any utility friend in Facebook). Many are Perfect friends as well. I am very happy to note that through the years, my ‘Utility’ and ‘Pleasure’ friends have upgraded into ‘Perfect’ friends.
If you are reading this, my friends, whether you are ‘perfect’ or ‘pleasure’, I cherish what we share.