As your life changes, so do your friendships. But some remain, keeping you connected to who you were earlier in life. Friends often know you better than you know yourself. Irene Ras explores the value of friendship in issue 17. In this blog you can read an excerpt.
For several years Dutch philosopher De Haas studies philosophical doctrine of friendship and she wrote a book called Vriendschap: Een Tweede Ik (Friendship: A Second Me). The title derives from the Greek philosopher Aristotle, De Haas’ favorite thinker when it comes to friendship. “According to Aristotle, a friend is like a mirror,” she says. “A friend knows your great strengths as well as your small weaknesses. This means they can step into your shoes and come up with a different perspective. That’s the best thing about having a friend.” In short, a friend gives you what you could never achieve on your own.
“As a toddler in the sandbox or as an adult, you need friends to develop yourself,” says De Haas. “A good friend encourages personal development. In a family you always have a certain role, which you can’t escape even in adulthood. But good friends show you new sides to yourself. They make other norms and values than the ones you learned at home. That’s how they help you on the way to adulthood, but long after that as well.” It pays, she says, to look now and then at how well your circle of friendship works. “A wise person has critical friends as well, and dares to tolerate contradiction. The trick is to choose friends who will do you the most justice. As Aristotle said: Friendship is a way of life.”
Text Irene Ras