How to Choose Your Best Friend According to Aristotle

Aristotle was quite perceptive about issues that are still relevant today: there are still friends of usefulness, pleasure, and mutual admiration, as are the corresponding friendship styles that you might encounter in a relationship. You can filter Aristotle’s concept through the lens of modern psychology to better understand which friends you have in life and which ones best suit your relationship needs.

What are the types of friendship?

In 2013, a group of German psychologists made Aristotle better by dividing the different types of friendship into four categories . Scientists Martina Misch, Oliver Huxhold, and Nan L. Stevens studied the relationships of nearly 2,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 85 and found four different patterns that define adult friendships.

These friendship styles are:

  • Choosable friendship style: These are the closest relationship styles. As the researchers wrote, “Friends were irreplaceable and distinctly different from acquaintances. These people did not usually make new friends in adulthood, but kept friends throughout their lives. “
  • Independent Friendship Style: People are “happy to have a few people to make friends with. Independent people avoid establishing close or long-term friendships and let life’s circumstances determine their friendship. ”
  • Selective acquisitive friendship style: People “continually strive to find new friends throughout their lives. Their friends could be both old confidants and distant acquaintances. “
  • Unconditionally acquisitive friendship style : Unlike selectively acquisitive friends, these relationships tend to have less emotional ties. This subsection is usually the largest group of friends. As Psychology Today writes: “In general, this group is more focused on communication than emotional support.”

This is an instinctive tendency rather than a conscious behavior. By learning more about your friends’ tendencies, you can learn to communicate better with them, as well as moderate certain expectations.

How to understand your friends’ style

It’s easy for friends to let you down sometimes, especially when you want certain relationships that they may not be able to establish. Presumably, most people might want an insightful friendship style in which a few close-knit people bond with a kind of unwavering bond. However, this is a relationship that only grows over time, and if you have several – or even one – such loyal friends, you will probably recognize this. These are the people you can turn to for personal advice and with whom you would prefer frank conversations. You probably don’t want more than a couple of friends like this – how many people are you willing to share your roughest feelings with?

The more independent types are likely to feel more comfortable in their own loneliness – perhaps they only appear from time to time when they crave human connection. Even if you have strong relationships with these people over the course of several years, you may not be able to count on their constant presence in your life. Maybe they don’t have the emotional bandwidth to have a heart-to-heart talk, and that’s okay – that kind of friend cares about your relationship, but may not be able to remain a permanent part of your life due to their own reclusive nature.

Since most of us are not academic researchers, we tend to use different words to describe our friendship. Simply put, the money-grubbing style of friendship includes those who might be called acquaintances. Perhaps this person is a great drinking companion, or you have a certain sense of humor and a few common interests, but apart from these casual connections there is nothing else. In this sense, don’t look for such a person for emotional support or even help when you need a friendly favor – for example, move the couch.

How to choose a best friend for yourself

Choosing a best friend to lean on in different situations starts with understanding what kind of friends you have. These categories are not so much a blueprint for making friendships with someone, but tips to help you understand your current friends so you can match their strengths with what you want (and can expect from) them in your relationship. … And understanding the depth of that relationship, beyond its limitations, will help you get the most out of your friends.


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