Today we go to Rome for our Wellness wisdom and we go back in time too. Sometime in the first century B.C. there lived in that glorious place a chap called Cicero and he had a great friendship with a fellow called Attitcus. At that stage in human development many Romans viewed friendship in very basic terms. A bit of a I scratch your back, you scratch mine state of affairs. But whereas Cicero accepts that that kind of mutual advantage can exist in the name of friendship he went way beyond that. In his thinking and he wrote it all down in a book called De Amicitia. Here’s some of his advice.
No 1. Choose your friends carefully. Now I know it’s very easy to jump in when you meet someone who bedazzles you. But what is more painful than finding out later on that this good friend is not all she or he cracks themselves up to be? So, says Cicero, take your time and find out what is really in that person’s heart before you invest part of your self into the situation. Personally I have no interest in the quick friendship.
No. 2. Be honest with each other. You know the difference between hearing what you want to hear and hearing what you need to hear. The fake friend will tell you anything just to get your attention which in turn serves a purpose for him, but not for you. You don’t need this sort of so-called friend.
No 3. Cicero believes that true friendship is NOT about what he can do for you. Yes, there are such elements in a friendship in that you exchange advice, support each other when the chips are down. But more than anything a true friendship has nothing to do with business. Or as an old friend of mine in New York once told me “Good friends don’t keep books.”
No 4. He cautions us that friendship can change over time. The qualities that you needed in a friend when you were young may not apply as you get older. But the chances are that the old friends have matured in a smilar pattern to you and so the basics that attracted you in the first place, those qualities, remain.
No. 5 No man is an island, the saying goes. And for that matter, no woman is either. We all need good people around us. A good friend will challenge you to be a better person and you will come to value that. As Cicero says “Even when a friend is absent, he is still present.”
So as you continue to beat a path through the ever-dominating technological world out there, remember that lasting friendships exist in the real world. Online friendships can open the door. But you need to devote time and energy and above all, understanding and love, to a friendship that will last for ever.