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Cicero acknowledges that there are many good people we come in contact with in our lives we call our friends , be they business associates, neighbours, or any matter of acquaintances. But he makes a key distinction between these common and quite useful friendships and those rare friends we bind ourselves to on a much deeper level.
These special friendships are necessarily rare, because they require so much time and investment in ourselves. But these are the friends that deeply change our lives, just as we change theirs.
People of poor moral character can have friends, but they can be only friends of utility for the simple reason that real friendship requires trust, wisdom, and basic goodness.
Tyrants and scoundrels can use each other, just as they can use good people, but ba people can never find real friendship in life.
We have to be deliberate about forming our friendships if for no other reason than that they can be very messy and painful to end if we found out the friends was not the person we thought.
We should take our time, move slowly, and discover what lies deep in a person's heart before we make the investment of self that true friendship requires.
No one can thrive in isolation. Left on our own, we will stagnate and become unable to see ourselves as we are. A true friend will challenge you to become better because he/she appreciates the potential inside you.
No one is sweeter friend than someone who has been with you from the beginning. But don't limit yourself to the companions of youth, whose friendship may have been based on interests you no longer share. Always be open to new friendships, including those with younger people. Both you and they will be the richer for it.
Friends will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want them to say. There are plenty of people in the world who will flatter you for their own purposes, but only a real friend-or an enemy- will risk your anger by telling the truth. And being a good person yourself, you should listen to your friends and welcome what they have to say.
Cicero acknowledges that there are practical advantages to friendship- advice, companionship, support in difficult times-but at its heart true friendship is not a business relationship. It doesn't seek repayment, and it doesn't keep score.
A friend will risk much fo another, but not honor. If a friend asks you to lie, cheat, or do something shameful, consider carefully if that person is who you really thought he was. Since friendship is based on goodness, it cannot exist when evil is expected of it.
Friendships from youth will not be the same in old age-nor should they be. Life changes all of us with time, but the core values and qualities that drew us to friends in years past can survive the test of time. And like fine wine, the best of friendships will improve with age.
Or as Cicero says: "Suppose a god carried you far away to a place where you were granted an abundance of every material good nature could wish for, but denied the possibility of ever seeing a human being. Wouldn't you have to be as hard as iron to endure that sort of life? Wouldn't you, utterly alone, lose every capacity for joy and pleasure?"
No man should neglect his duties because of personal inconvenience, only acceptable if your illness prevents you
"Indulgence get us friends, but truth gets us hatred" Truth can indeed be troublesome if it brings about hatred, which is poison to friendship; but much worse is the kind of indulgence and aquiescence that allows a friend to rush headlong into destructive behaviour.
However, the worst sin of all is to spun the truth and allow flattery to drive you to ruin.
We should keep flattery, that handmaid of vice, at distance.
Flattery is unworthy not only of a friend, but any free person, living with a friend shouldn’t be like living with a tyrant.
When you receive an advise, the only thing you should be bothered is by what you’ve done wrong and not by the fact that you’re being criticised.
Offer your corrections with kindness, not harshly, and take them patiently, not with reluctance.
To love means that you care for another without putting your needs or advantages first.
We should be able to endure any pain that is brief, no matter how terrible. And friendship, aside from virtue, is the greatest thing we can find in life.
These ideas are important because it teaches you how to become a better friend, a better sibling etc. It makes you a better version of yourself.
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