- What have we lost or gained in our ability to fully express ourselves in our friendships in our contemporary, Western society?
One thing we have lost I would say is the ability to completely trust another person without there being something to gain from the other person. Many friends only do for each other out of convenience or for a potential gain. Going back to the Aristotle’s friendship of utility, Trust I believe of course would be earned over time but trust is an ability that does not come easy; unlike babies who trust their mother, adults when establishing connections and friendships, trust is something that comes from usually after a “give or take moment”. The one thing we did gain was familiarity of extended family. For those who grew up as only children in the household, friends helped establish that sibling connection we missed out on. At this point our children would call them “aunt” or “uncle” . That sense of of family and welcoming feeling that one shares in a friendship allows us to establish stable relationships.
- To what extent is the enactment and expression of friendship similar/ different in contemporary society compared with Medieval Europe and Ancient Greece? Discuss the personal and societally-imposed constraints that limit our sharing close friendship bonds with others today.
One similarity between medieval Europe and Ancient Greece to the present would be Symposium, this term is most relatable to me as I like to frequently indulge in social events that involve alcohol with my friends, all in good fun of course. Although in earlier times during a symposium, men would drink out of the same cup and thus bonds were formed (Vernon, p.161). Today if 2 men drank out of the same cup and they were not intimately involved, then someone would either get upset or just questions would be flying around. Social events such as these are great in team building and for friends to come together to catch up on life. As adults many of us aren’t able to speak with our friends on a day to day basis, so at times we may choose a day to go out to dinner at a restaurant, to a bar for happy hour, to a party of club, or even plan a vacation. For me, I’m a busy man, between spending time with my daughter on the weekends while also putting effort in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend, finding time to hang with the guys outside of work has been difficult. The out of sight out of mind feeling that society places on us really puts a damper on friendships, but one thing is for sure having symposiums or small outings with friends or even having game nights on a friday will benefit you personally and also keep friendships strong.
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. Chapter 6: Politics of Friendship.