The objective of this essay is to illustrate the meanings behind friendship from different philosophical perspectives, such as Aristotle’s and Mary Healy’s, (2016). I will be differentiating the types of friendships such as best friend relationships, colleagues and exploring the positive and negative aspects of friendship, as well as the possible strategies schools should implement to encourage friendships in academic settings. Friendship is a mutual bond between two or more humans requiring emotional vulnerability and support, therefore “one cannot be a friends in isolation” (Healy, 2016) Friendship can also be defined as a “curious relationship” (Healy, 2011:443) because it is comprehended as noticing something different in an individual which encourages us to display dedication towards them. Similarly, for a friendship to work, both individuals must be fully committed in “actively trying to bene?t the other” in which the efforts of receiving and giving are balanced (Healy, 2016:186). This is achieved by displaying goodwill, where they are constantly supporting, caring and having mutual respect and empathy for each other’s interests and values which shows an inclination “for wishing each other well”. (Healy, 2016:186) This demonstrates that friendship is “advantageous and desirable for both parties” as they would be more considerate of one another’s feelings which would lead to them becoming closer due to a strong sense of belonging.
Furthermore, friendship covers a wide range of social interactions from informal relationships such as best friendships and formal relationships an example being colleagues, but not all social relationships are put under the friendship category. (Phal,2000, cited in Healy, 2016). This is because someone could have various types of social relations with another person in the form of peer relationships, colleagues, best friends but the bond of each friendship will be different as “each pair is unique to that pair”. (Damon,1977,cited in Healy,2011). For instance; best friends are viewed as special because there is a “emotional attachment” where both parties are open to one another and trust is shared at a relative level. (Healy, 2011, 443) This is because the individual will feel confident enough to share secrets as they will feel that the established rapport has made the friend a worthy confidant.
In addition, they are also placed in a higher status to our “thinking to non-friends,” because best friends are people who you feel comfortable with and can be yourself around as there is a greater level of respect, compassion and understanding for each others needs enabling the bond to be stronger. Moreover, the bond with a colleague would be different because you are only attached to them professionally suggesting that once outside work you are isolated from them. Moreover, Aristotle stated that there are three main types of friendship which consists of”utility friendships, pleasure friendships and virtue friendships”. Friendships of utility “are considered a lesser form of friendship and based on the self” (Healy, 2011, 444) meaning it consists of both parties utilizing each other for their own benefit. For instance; in a business setting individuals are able to adapt to form friendly friendships with each other to pursue self profit. In addition, “such friendships are prone to disappointment and dissolution” (Healy,2011:444) because the friend is not cherished for their own sake rather for the advantages received by the other. This is because the friendship exists on the foundations of an “exchange of goods and services” (Healy,2011:444) which demonstrates that this type of friendship is not permanent because when the utility ceases the friendship will cease with it. The second friendship Aristotle defined was friendship of pleasure, and are those “who enjoy each other’s company” demonstrating that this friendship is particularly common among young people because they often base their decision on emotion, interest and pleasure as it plays a major influence in their lives.
For instance; many individuals enjoy passing their time in their friends company and this can be related back to the utility friendship as the friend is not loved for their own sake but rather for the benefit which is the pleasure received. Moreover, “such friendships have a tendency to be transient” because the backbone of the friendship is pleasure and when that changes then the friendship is not useful resulting to an end. An example being individuals who share the same hobbies may fall out of friendship as they begin to age because they no longer have the same interest.Friendship of virtue is defined as a “complete friendship” because it consists of two individuals having a “mutual recognition” where they share interest and similar opinions creating a strong bond which enables the friendship to last. This is because once that friendship is formed both individuals would have a positive contribution to each other’s lives which demonstrates that the “flourishing of one is intimately connected with the flourishing of the other”. Similarly, a virtuous person is known to “love their friends for their own sake” which suggest that they support them and do not utilize their friends company for their self benefit such as pleasure and utility rather they enjoy spending time with and learning more about who they are. The positive aspect of friendship is that it provides an access to the moral life enabling us to “become virtuous”(Aristotle, 1953, cited in Healy, 2011:442) as it encourages them to demonstrate good qualities such as; generosity, honesty, encouragement, trust which allows us to build relationships with people ( Cooper, 1977, cited in Healy,2016:191). This enables us to “life much happier and healthier lives” exhibiting that a friendship increases the self esteem of an individual which helps them to cope better with stress and trauma.
For instance; friends offer you a certain support and advice when going through difficult situations. “Friendship is typically the ?rst signi?cant relationship outside of family ties to develop” (Ben and Coleman, 1999, cited in Healy, 2016:186). This therefore enables individuals to live a “flourishing life” (Aristotle, NE, cited in Healy, 2016:193) as humans are essentially “social beings” because they have an innate urge to interact and belong showing that we cannot live without friends and must therefore live in a society that encourages the idea of friendship such as attending a school. (Aristotle, NE, cited in Healy, 2016:193). A negative aspect of friendship is rejection and this occurs when the person is intentionally excluded from all types of interactions as the offer for friendship is “turned down or ignored”.(Healy, 2016:187) For instance; in a academic setting such as schools most children would have already established friendships with their peers however, the ‘rejected child might be the one who occupies the role of a substitute friend” (Healy, 2016:187) suggesting that when the absent child returns the rejected child would be no longer needed as the self benefit attained is gone. Rejection can be seen in many forms such as; teasing, exclusion and bullying.
All of this can have a negative lasting effect on the individual’s overall well being as children often “drop out of school, with engagement in criminality or with suffering from anxiety and depression in their later life” (Healy, 2016:187/188). Furthermore, another negative aspect of friendship can be seen as loneliness in relation, back to the school setting some children are often shy and therefore find it difficult to form bonds and “develop best friendship”. (Healy, 2016:188) This demonstrates that school is a very “miserable experiences of childrenhood” (White, 1990 cited in Healy, 2016:188) as they are often left out by their peers which has a negative impact on their personal well being because loneliness has been linked to decreasing the individual’s self esteem and self confidence.Similarly, schools should provide additional training to teachers to identify children who are at risk of being bullied and excluded from their peers. This is because schools have a duty of care in which they must protect the well being of children regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. An effective strategy schools should implement in classrooms is allowing children to pair up with their best friends as this enables them to gain social skills needed to flourish and also provides them with the opportunity to be autonomous in decision making as they are able to choose who they want to be friends