3 Types of Friendship
Fellowship is often hard to find these days as it almost seems many are not willing to trust one another. This, of course, is a symptom of the age but even in these uncertain days, there is usually someone willing to share a pint with you at the end of the day. And sure, there is nothing wrong with the jokester that shoots milk out his nose when he laughs or can do a great impersonation of Christopher Walken; but I am talking about a friend that has substance. Do we know what such a friend looks like or are we unsure as to what a friend truly is supposed to be? Truly, it is important to know what sort of friends is best for you and what is best for you is not usually your first choice.
As a personal opinion, I believe most are not sure what a friend is supposed to be or how one can recognize a good friend when they see one. I say this because usually, the good friend is one that does not indulge or encourage others to indulge in what is seen as harmful. There is a standard that is usually involved in this friend and his backbone cannot possibly bend to nonsense if he can help it. But I digress… We can know what a good friend is or what sort he is by taking a philosophical look at him. We know as Catholic men from our Catechism that the purpose of being created in the first place is to seek to 1) know God, 2) love God, and 3) serve God in this life so as to secure eternal happiness with Him in the next life. Therefore, it would follow that since we have this singular purpose, we should surround ourselves with those who are like-minded and also strive to accomplish eternal life in obedience to God. This is simple enough to understand but we can return to this friend in a moment as I can speak from experience some of those I have befriended do not exactly fit this mold. All other friends however we shall take a closer look at to see with whom we offer our friendship… as I mentioned…philosophically.
Aristotle, arguably one of the greatest philosophers graced by God, has given mankind three types of friendship by which we might know one another more clearly as men.
Friendships of Utility
The first type is called, “Friendships of Utility” – this type of friendship is one that exists between yourself and someone who is of use to you in some form or another. This of course on the surface sounds very shallow and not exactly upfront or honest. Although this might be so for many friendships such as these, this doesn’t necessarily mean the friendship is a complete farce. In a positive light, this can be as simple as a co-worker you share your daily duties and may also share possible interests with but usually as far as the workplace but not much else beyond that. Even so, as positive as we can try to make this type of friendship, it is not one of substance where the end of such a relationship is self-gratification.
Friendships of Pleasure
Moving on to the second type, we find a more familiar friendship – “Friendships of Pleasure”. This is the friendship where we are likely to see our jokester who can do that hilarious Christopher Walken impersonation and the like. As I mentioned before, there is nothing inherently wrong about this type of friendship so long as it does not travail into the world of excess (drunkenness, violence, carousing, unclean language, etc.). As there is nothing wrong with good clean fun and a good laugh we must also realize we need to be of sound mind in a friendship. Often friendships of pleasure do not focus entirely on being grounded in principle or moral truths. Instead, this type of friendship often leads to nonsense which begets more nonsense until much of the friendship is steeped in useless things. Carnal thinking comes to mind in friendships of pleasure and usually do not give room for heavenly things.
Friendships of the Good
Last but not least we have our third type of friendship which Aristotle called, ‘Friendships of the Good’. It is these friendships that are based on charity – such as mutual respect and admiration for one another. In this friendship type, we have made a full circle to our true friend of substance. He is one who seeks after a friend based on trust and right motives that mutually benefit him and yourself. He is a friend that does not wish to do as he pleases nor will he run off to do something just to please you but would rather follow through with you for something that is for your good. He has a backbone and principles to which he cannot possibly offend because he strives to embody them by word, thought, and deed. This friendship, by it Catholic, is concerned with the objective truth concerning all things. For this friendship through a Catholic looking glass sees the same time, events, and all happenings as those who are not Catholic but are able to define these occurrences as it relates to Christ and His Kingdom on earth.
As I mentioned previously, the purpose we share on this earth is to know, love, and serve God in this life so to be with God eternally in the next. A true friend also sees this as his goal as well but not satisfied with his own journey – he would have it that you join him in true fellowship. Men, seek each other out in truth with trust and always toward Christ through His Holy Roman Catholic Church and you will always have good company! Amen.