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and the tastes of youth change quickly. Also the young are prone to fall in love, as love is chiefly guided by emotion, and grounded on pleasure; hence they form attachments quickly and give them up quickly, often changing before the day is out.

The young do desire to pass their time in their friend's company, for that is how they get the enjoyment of their friendship. 3. [6]

The perfect form of friendship is that between the good, and those who resemble each other in virtue. For these friends wish each alike the other's good in respect of their goodness,1 and they are good in themselves; but it is those who wish the good of their friends for their friends' sake who are friends in the fullest sense, since they love each other for themselves and not accidentally.2 Hence the friendship of these lasts as long as they continue to be good; and virtue is a permanent quality. And each is good relatively to his friend as well as absolutely, since the good are both good absolutely and profitable to each other. And each is pleasant in both ways also, since good men are pleasant both absolutely and to each other; for everyone is pleased by his own actions, and therefore by actions that resemble his own, and the actions of all good men are the same or similar.— 3. [7] Such friendship is naturally permanent, since it combines in itself all the attributes that friends ought to possess. All affection is based on good or on pleasure, either absolute or relative to the person who feels it, and is prompted by similarity3 of some sort; but this friendship possesses all these attributes in the friends themselves, for they are alike, et cetera,4 in that way.5 Also the absolutely good is pleasant absolutely as well; but the absolutely good and pleasant are the chief objects of affection; therefore it is between good men that affection and friendship exist in their fullest and best form. 3. [8]

Such friendships are of course rare, because such men are few. Moreover they require time and intimacy: as the saying goes, you cannot get to know a man till you have consumed the proverbial amount of salt6 in his company; and so you cannot admit him to friendship or really be friends, before each has shown the other that he is worthy of friendship and has won his confidence. 3. [9] People who enter into friendly relations quickly have the wish to be friends, but cannot really be friends without being worthy of friendship, and also knowing each other to be so; the wish to be friends is a quick growth, but friendship is not. 4.

This form of friendship is perfect both in point of duration and of the other attributes7 of friendship; and in all respects either party receives from the other the same or similar benefits, as it is proper that friends should do.

1 See 3.1 above, and note.

2 i.e., for some accidental, i.e., temporary or not essential, quality: cf. sects. 2, 3.

3 There is some uncertainty here and elsewhere in these chapters whether ‘similarity’ refers to resemblance between the friends (as 3.6, and cf. 1139a 10, καθ᾽ ὁμοιότητά τινα), or between the different forms of friendship (as καθ᾽ ὁμοιότητα, 1157a 32, 1158b 6) , friendships based on pleasure or profit being only so called ‘by way of resemblance,’ i.e. in an analogical and secondary sense. But the latter consideration seems irrelevant here, and is first developed in the next chapter (sects. 1, 4). It is true that whether similarity between the parties is an element in all friendship (although this is implied by the words ‘who resemble each other in virtue’ in 3.6) is nowhere clearly decided, and it can hardly be predicated of some friendships considered below.

4 i.e., absolutely and relatively good and pleasant: cf. 4.1.

5 i.e., in themselves, and not accidentally.

6 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1238a 2, διὸ ἐις παροιμίαν ἐλήλυθεν μέδιμνος τῶν ἁλῶν, ‘hence “the peck of salt” has passed into a proverb.’

7 Cf. 3.7.

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