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for he has everything that is naturally good. And it is obviously preferable to associate with friends and with good men than with strangers and chance companions. Therefore the happy man requires friends. [4]

What then do the upholders of the former view mean, and in what sense is it true? Perhaps the explanation of it is that most men think of friends as being people who are useful to us. Now it is true that the supremely happy man will have no need of friends of that kind, inasmuch as he is supplied with good things already. Nor yet will he want friends of the pleasant sort, or only to a very small extent, for his life is intrinsically pleasant and has no need of adventitious pleasure. And as he does not need useful or pleasant friends, it is assumed that he does not require friends at all. [5]

But perhaps this inference is really untrue. For as we said at the beginning,1 happiness is a form of activity, and an activity clearly is something that comes into being, not a thing that we possess all the time, like a piece of property. But if happiness consists in life and activity, and the activity of a good man, as was said at the beginning,2 is good and so pleasant in itself, and if the sense that a thing is our own is also pleasant, yet we are better able to contemplate our neighbors than ourselves, and their actions than our own, and thus good men find pleasure in the actions of other good men who are their friends,

1 1.7.15. The argument for friendship from the definition of happiness as virtuous and therefore pleasant activity is threefold: ( α) the virtuous actions of our friends give us (by sympathy) the same pleasure as our own; ( β) good activities (e.g. study) can be carried on longer (because less liable to fatigue) ; ( γ) virtuous friends increase our own virtue (as we unconsciously imitate their acts). Hence friends useful and pleasant because virtuous (though not useful or pleasant friends in the ordinary sense) are necessary adjuncts of happiness.

2 1.8.13.

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