Seneca: Letter III–Friendship

The Grumpy Stoic

In this letter Seneca discusses friendship.

How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them could you sit with and talk about your thoughts and worries and deliberations? How many of them could you sit with in silence and be comfortable?

Seneca asks, regarding the quality of friendship, “Why should I keep back anything when I’m with a friend? Why shouldn’t I imagine I’m alone when I’m in his company?”

I’m reminded of the Finns, apparently not a talkative people, for whom it is quite normal to be able to sit for hours with another person and say nothing and feel quite comfortable.

Seneca’s approach to friendship is pragmatic. His basic rule is that you must judge people first, then decide if you want to develop a friendship. Seneca considers ‘friendship’ a serious matter.

But if you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do…

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