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especially in time of misfortune, and is a considerable help in assuaging sorrow; for a friend, if tactful, can comfort us with look and word, as he knows our characters and what things give us pleasure and pain. [4] But on the other hand to see another pained by our own misfortunes is painful, as everyone is reluctant to be a cause of pain to his friends. Hence manly natures shrink from making their friends share their pain, and unless a man is excessively insensitive, he cannot bear the pain that his pain gives to them; and he will not suffer others to lament with him, because he is not given to lamentation himself. But weak women and womanish men like those who mourn with them, and love them as true friends and sympathizers. However, it is clear that in everything we ought to copy the example of the man of nobler nature. [5]

In prosperity again the company of friends sweetens our hours of leisure, and also affords the pleasure of being conscious of their pleasure in our welfare.

Hence it may be thought that we ought to be eager to invite our friends to share our good fortune (since it is noble to wish to bestow benefits), but reluctant to ask them to come to us in misfortune (since we should impart to others as little as possible of what is evil: whence the proverb ‘My own misfortune is enough’). We should summon our friends to our aid chiefly when they will be of great service to us at the cost of little trouble to themselves. [6]

So, conversely, it is perhaps fitting that we should go uninvited and readily to those in misfortune (for it is the part of a friend to render service, and especially to those in need, and without being asked, since assistance so rendered is more noble and more pleasant for both parties); but to the prosperous, though we should go readily to help them (for even prosperity needs the cooperation of friends),1 we should be slow in going when it is a question of enjoying their good things (for it is not noble to be eager to receive benefits). But doubtless we should be careful to avoid seeming churlish in repulsing their advances, a thing that does sometimes occur.

It appears therefore that the company of friends is desirable in all circumstances. 12.

As then lovers find their greatest delight in seeing those they love, and prefer the gratification of the sense of sight to that of all the other senses, that sense being the chief seat and source of love, so likewise for friends (may we not say?) the society of each other is the most desirable thing there is. For (i) friendship is essentially a partnership. And (ii) a man stands in the same relation to a friend as to himself2; but the consciousness of his own existence is a good; so also therefore is the consciousness of his friend's existence; but this3 consciousness is actualized in intercourse;

1 Cf. 8.1.1 fin., 2 fin.

2 See chap. 4 and 9.5.

3 Or possibly, ‘and friendship is realized in intercourse,’ a separate reason for the thesis of the first sentence.

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