As you know from my last post, I just finished reading Doing Virtuous Business by Dr. T.R. Malloch. Being a book on business, you wouldn’t expect to find insight on friendship, but that’s just one more benefit I gained from reading the book. And, I’d like to share some of his comments with you.
To give some context for the quotes: Dr. Malloch deals with the benefits of the free market that go beyond the expected. He says, a business man may go into business to meet a need and end up making a lot of money. The profit is the outcome of meeting the need. And so, all capitalistic endeavors don’t start out as get rich schemes, contrary to what critics would say. Dr. Malloch illustrates this principle by discussing the unsought benefits derived from friendship.
“Consider friendship: The person with friends has help in his time of need, consolation in despair, and fellowship in rejoicing. In everything he attempts, he is better off than the friendless person, and all his burdens are more lightly born. But this does not mean that he values his friend merely as a means to achieving his own selfish goals. On the contrary, he values his friend for the particular person he is and without thought of benefit… The person who treats another as a means to his own goals… is not treating the other as a friend. And if you do not treat someone as a friend, he ceases to be one.”
“Friends are useful, so long as you do not make use of them! Treat someone as a friend, value him for what he is, and he will repay your friendship a thousandfold. Treat him as useful, however, and he will soon cease to be so.”
One might think this would be obvious to all but it isn’t. Some people lose relationships like water off a duck’s back and never understand what happened. If you are having relational difficulties, you might want to ask yourself, “Am I a user?”
Dr. Malloch concludes his thoughts on friendship with, “only the virtuous have true friends.” Much to think about.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have some insight on this topic.