In friendship an ‘openness’ of each to the other is found that can be seen as an enlargement of the self. A good friendly person is related to his friend the same way he is related to himself. He / She considers the friend as another “self” or extension of “self”. Friendship therefore opens the door to an escape from “egoism” or “belief” that the rational course of action is always to pursue one’s own self-interest. It is notable that friendship requires sentiments. Sentimentality is not always rational – but forms an essential foundation of friendship. It is a purely personal matter, requiring virtue, yet which runs counter to the universalistic requirement of impartial treatment of all. Friend is someone who is treated differently from all others always. An outstanding example for this is found in Mahabharatha – the friendship between Karna & Duryodhana!
Values that are found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following traits on a consistent basis:
- The tendency to desire what is best for the other!
- Sympathy & Empathy!
- Honesty – perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth – especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart.
- Mutual understanding!
- Mutual compassion!
One problem is to reconcile these apparently diverse and occasionally conflicting requirements. Mishandling this may cause either temporary or lasting strain in relationships. But one irrefutable element in friendship is – you can talk “neutral nonsense” freely – without the fear of being seriously judged. It gives lot of freedom to be occasionally stupid – which is a release from stress! Friendship is easier to repair when spoiled, than all other relationships, as forgiveness is in-built into it.