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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.