In classical times, friendship seems to have occupied a central place in the lives of great thinkers, possibly because most of them were men, and women were regarded, on the whole, as inferior beings, rather than equal companions (with a few notable exceptions). It is good for us to share their memories, which are as thought-provoking today as when they were first written.
Recent research has shown that being able to talk to a friend about personal problems has important mental health benefits. It has also revealed that most people have fewer than five friends that they consider close. So having a small number of close friends turn out to be the key to a balanced, happy, healthy, life.
The blossoming of a friendship is often a mystery, as people who are quite different — almost opposite, perhaps — in nature may form a close bond. Have we taken a look at this phenomenon, and ask ourselves, how we can teach our children, and ourselves, the value of friendship?
Having a few loyal, close friends is one of the greatest blessings life can offer. How can we show our appreciation, if we have friends; and if we don’t, how can we learn from our mistakes, and start to build positive relationships in our lives?
What is the secret to long, happy, and devoted friendships? Does it lie in the balance between the two friends, or in the qualities of each? We have to take a close look at people; including us, and see how they form friendships, from childhood into adulthood, and what they mean to us as we go through life.
Many people who have made their mark on the world have offered advice on the question of friendship. Thoughts, folklore and legend from different cultures make those guides.
How is a friendship nourished over the years? Are friends that last a lifetime the most important ones in our lives, and how do we react when a friendship ends? Also, what are the qualities needed to find and keep a good friend?