Friendship: some further thoughts.

We return in this piece to the ancient thoughts of Cicero on friendship.

1.    He rejects the idea that friendship should entail an equality of goodwill; so calling into account some sort of balance of debits and credits. A friendship should not be concerned that it seems to give more than it receives; by giving out more than is due to the friend.

2.    He wants to say that friendship should not involve feigning or hypocrisy. In fact flattery is a mortal enemy to friendship. Advice between friends should be given with freedom of speech but no harshness; and received with patience and no resentment. Flatterers are those people who say everything with a view to pleasure and nothing with a view to truth.

3.    Cicero, whilst admitting that seriousness and gravity are indeed impressive, says that friendship should be unrestrained, genial and agreeable.

There is an important and little-discussed flip side to friendship, and that is lack of friends. We call this loneliness and we will return to this topic at a later date.

Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.