A relative loves you despite your identity, a friend, because of it.  Any person with one lover, two friends, healthy children, money, and health is rich; if he doesn’t feel that way, he’s a fool.  Most likely your parents will die within your lifetime.  Your lovers or spouse may leave by divorce.  Your children, if you have them, will be available but really shouldn’t be a major source of support and companionship.  In the final analysis, friends may be the most important support system to sustain you during the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.  The importance of sustaining a few good friendships over the course of your life simply cannot be overstated.  This said, Aristotle’s reminder should never be forgotten.  “He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude.” Aristotle:  Ethics, IV, 3.  Quoted by Durant, The Story of Philosophy


Advice on Friends

1.  Cultivate and maintain a close friendship with at least two people at all times during your life.  Do not try to be friends with a large number of people, and don’t confuse an acquaintance with a friend.

2.  In friendship, follow the rule of equity.  Trade evenly all the various commodities of friendship.  Return all borrowed money promptly.  Be as willing to lend as to borrow.  Return phone calls and initiate contacts as frequently as your friend.  When meeting try to be fair and equal about who travels how far to meet.  Disclose yourself as much, or a little more, than your friend discloses him/her self to you.  Trade equally on little favors, etc., etc.

3.  Always listen to your friend.  Try desperately to understand his view of the world and of you.  Take advantage of your friend to learn honestly how others view you.  Don’t be angry at your friend for being honest with you about your faults.

4.  Don’t take advantage of your friends.  Don’t use your friends.

5.  Be loyal to your friends.  Don’t drop a friend or withdraw from a friend for minor arguments or faults.  Don’t believe what other people say about your friends until you’ve told your friend and assessed his explanation.  Always give a friend a chance to explain him/her self.

6.  Tell the truth about yourself to your friends.  Don’t try to get your friends to like you for some manufactured image.  Let your friends see the real you and take it or leave.  Hold onto these friends who know the foolish, evil, childish, parts of you.

7.  Share your plans and thoughts about your future and your goals with your friends.  Seek their advice and reflection, but, of course, always make the final decision about your life yourself.

8.  Don’t do anything illegal or immoral (using your moral standards) to impress a friend or to get a friend's approval.  Do not be a slave of your need for approval from your friends.

9.  Don’t let a friend take advantage of you or to otherwise perpetuate an unequal relationship.  If a friend is maneuvering into a one-up position, then share your perception with him/her.  If this game playing doesn’t stop, then end the relationship.

10.  Try to have a non-sexual relationship-friendship with a member of the opposite sex throughout your life.

11.  Attempt to see your current friends at least twice per month.

12.  Arrange a time with your friends so that you have at least a half an hour of unstructured time to spend just relaxing and talking (no sports, TV, or other distractions) each time you are together.

13.  Avoid having all your friends in one social class, occupation, or religion.  Try to have some variety in your friendships.

14.  Do not become romantically involved with a friend’s lover, wife, ex-wife, ex-lover, etc.

15.  Don’t go into business with a friend.  If you violate this rule then at least have a clear written agreement with him/her about all the details of the business (especially who does what, who gets how much, and how to handle one person wanting to end or change the business).

16.  Don’t work for a friend and don’t hire a friend to work for you.

17.  Don’t be friends with people you know are criminals or alcoholics.

18.  Don’t be angry with your friends for not taking your advice.  Don’t make the acceptance of your advice a condition for being in a relationship with you.  But do offer your advice and the reasons for your advice to your friends.  Don’t deprive a friend of your experience or knowledge.

 19.  When talking about your friends to other people brag about their positive traits and defend them (when they deserve it) against untrue or unfair attacks.

20.  Seek out friends that have some common interest with you (e.g., a sport, hobby, etc.).  If you have a friend who doesn’t share some fun activity that you can do together then sit down and see if you can’t take up some hobby together.

21.  If for some reason it becomes necessary to end a friendship then avoid being continuously angry about the friend and trying to get other people to take your side; just withdraw from your friendship, this is your most powerful weapon.