The importance of friendship

Dutch philosopher Catharina de Haas recommends evaluating your friendships once a year, taking time to check how things are going and whether the feeling among friends is still mutual. Too often, she says, we take our friendships for granted. You can read an interview with her in our special Love & Life. Here’s a taster of the feature.

How do our friendships enrich our lives?
We enter the world like a crystal ball with many different facets. As well as your parents, it’s your friends who help polish some of your facets, while leaving others unchanged. Friends can point out to you, for example, that you read a lot of travel books, and should maybe actually take more holidays instead. They can give you ideas that wouldn’t occur to you as quickly on your own.

You have called friends a “second I”. What do you mean by that?
Humans and apes are the only species that are capable of standing outside of one’s self, and observing one’s self, like a second I. “How do I respond when my work is criticized?”, “How do I react if my children ignore me when I tell them about my day?” A friend can also stand there, in that space where your “second I” stands. They can think along with you, using everything they know about you. For example, they may know you’re quick to get angry, or that you need a lot of reassurance. They need to momentarily forget themself and focus on you, think about how something feels for you.

  • You can find the interview with Catherina de Haas in our special Flow Love & Life. You can order a copy from our web shop. Check our store locator for more information about where you can find Flow.

Interview Peggy van der Lee Photography Shutterstock