Friendship is formed among those who share a mutual love for one another. This shared love for one another must then be seasoned by additional commonalities: visions, pursuits and/or virtues. The commonalities that create friendship are anything but common. Instead, they are the characteristics of oneʼs heart, mind and soul that make each member of the friendship unique from most other people. The combination of love and these special commonalities shared between individuals emulsifies into friendship. This sensation has been described as the unification of reason and affection.
While these unities may make friends very much alike, it does not mean that friends will have everything in common. More often than being replicas, friends are likely to be complements of each other. They may share beliefs, virtues and dreams, but each friend is still uniquely individualistic – although friends may often be found to have similar differences from the greater population. In fact, friendships are each a “relation between men at their highest level of individuality.” It is these differences from the larger society, but that are shared among friends, that harden friendships.
Common passions and virtues that unite friends often cause friends to join together in common pursuits. It is the synergies created by the talents present amongst a group of friends that can lead to powerful and lasting changes in the world. A group of friends working toward a common desire lacks the typical weaknesses of the collective, such as inefficiency, absence of a clear direction, lack of accountability and responsibility, etc. The reason is simple: each friendʼs purpose is not for the group itself, but instead it is for the pursuit of his or her own rational self- interest and of his or her own happiness. It just so happens that among a group of friends each individualʼs pursuits match that of his friends, for it is these pursuits that united friends at the outset of the relationship.
True friendship is developed through the sharing of oneʼs innermost thoughts and feelings. Mere companions are never as comfortable in each otherʼs presence as are true friends. True friends are extremely rare. The minimal supply and great demand demonstrate the value of a true friend.
Friendship, like the love upon which it is based, is a conscious choice. It is an action by each friend. It does not happen accidentally, but occurs intentionally through the aforementioned blending of affection and reason. It does not happen at a single point in time, but it is achieved and experienced over the course of a lifetime. While friendship is not necessary to survival, it is one of the things that give value to survival.
Leading up to the 2014 Texas Student Leadership Forum, we plan to post one blog per week centered around the four tenets of the Forum. We invite anyone to contribute to the discussion – please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in writing. The application for the 2014 Forum can be found here.