Friendship is a necessary aspect of every human's life, as we are not self sufficient in and of ourselves (Other Selves, pg. 30). Despite its necessity, in some cases we are either forced or morally required to end these relationships. When the trust between two parties has been broken, the loyalty of the friendship is soiled, and it is therefore a true and just action to end the friendship. First, let's define what it means to be a friend. Friends can be described as: "an intimate associate, reliable, one who is not an enemy or foe, an ally, etc" (Webster's, pg. 540). Thus, based upon the definition of a friend, we can assert that friends should not betray one another, regardless of the circumstance. This is true, if and only if, it is in the best interest of the friend. Secondly, trust is an issue that every platonic friendship must deal with. Whether dealing with matters of trust is active or passive, its power is still a prevalent and pertinent quality that is mutually understood. Trust is an unwritten rule between friends and is defined as the "firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, justice, etc of another person." (Webster's, pg. 1436) Trust is also described as "faith"(Webster's, pg. 1436). When using a word such as "faith," that describes a substantial belief in one another, it is very difficult to argue that breaking the trust of the friendship is ever in the best interest of the friend. In addition, friends are loyal. By definition loyal friends are, "faithful to those persons ideals" and are, "under obligation to defend, support, or be true to," each other (Webster's, pg. 802). Although the definitions of loyalty, as well as its connotations, scream commitment loyalty actually exists in many degrees. Loyalty can be seen as the pinnacle of the friendship in which case you would be willing to risk life and limb for that person. Or at the opposite end of the spectrum loyalty may not be taken seriously at all. For example, you may be loyal to the fish in your fish tank; in that you feed them, treat them well, change the water, etc. but in the case of a serious house fire you would not go running back in to rescue them. Granted there are also many stages in-between, total loyalty and minimal loyalty, but the integrity of the friendship is based around these two principles, loyalty and trust. Loyalty can determine the reliability of the friendship, just as well as the amount of trust that can be placed in that friend.
As we all know, not every friendship is one in which we can trust completely, nor do we feel entirely loyal to those people. Therefore, it is true that we can have friendships with a varying degree of loyalty and trust. Each friendship takes on its own uniqueness and attributes that can be labeled as one of the following: friendships of utility, pleasure, and character.
Friendships of utility are those relationships in which we make use of that friend because they provide the means to an effective service, that we don't possess. In friendships of utility there is generally a minimal amount of loyalty. For example, you know Joe only because he's your mechanic, and you trust that he will repair your car. You are also loyal to him, in that you're a return customer, but if he is going out of business and wants to barrow $20,000 to restart Joes' Car Shop, your most likely not going to just hand the money over to him keeping that "firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, and' reliability" of Joe (Webster's, pg. 1436). In many circumstances this individual is our friend solely because of the effective service they provide, but there are also conditions in which friendships of utility can also be pleasurable. If you enjoy the person more than you enjoy the service they are performing, it then becomes a friendship of pleasure.
Friendships of pleasure are relationships in which we enjoy the pleasure derived from that companion. It may...
Cited: Aristotle. "Nicomachean Ethics Books VII and IX". Other Selves Philosophers on Friendship. Ed.
Pakaluk, Michael. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1991. pg. 30
Webster 's New World College Dictionary (Third Edition). Hudson: Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1996. pg. 540, 1436
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