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Friendship then being divided into these species, inferior people will make friends for pleasure or for use, if they are alike in that respect,1 while good men will be friends for each other's own sake, since they are alike in being good.2 The latter therefore are friends in an absolute sense, the former accidentally, and through their similarity to the latter. 5.

It is with friendship as it is with the virtues; men are called good in two senses, either as having a virtuous disposition or as realizing virtue in action, and similarly friends when in each other's company derive pleasure from and confer benefits on each other, whereas friends who are asleep or parted are not actively friendly, yet have the disposition to be so. For separation does not destroy friendship absolutely, though it prevents its active exercise. If however the absence be prolonged, it seems to cause the friendly feeling itself to be forgotten: hence the poet's remark3 “ Full many a man finds friendship end
For lack of converse with his friend.

” [2]

The old and the morose do not appear to be much given to friendship, for their capacity to please is small, and nobody can pass his days in the company of one who is distasteful to him, or not pleasing, since it seems to be one of the strongest instincts of nature to shun what is painful and seek what is pleasant. [3] And when persons approve of each other without seeking such other's society, this seems to be goodwill rather than friendship. Nothing is more characteristic of friends than that they seek each other's society:

1 i.e., in being pleasant or useful to each other; or possibly ‘since they are alike in loving pleasure or profit.’

2 Or possibly ‘since they like each other as being good.’

3 The source of this is unknown.

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