You would think that this is an easy Maxim to write about as one would think that it is self-evident. As with the Maxim that enjoins us to “Help Your Friends” (Maxim #15 for those who are keeping count) most people would think that it is easy to love friendship. However, this means that we first need to figure out what it means to BE a friend. And that is what makes this particular Maxim so challenging.
It has been said that “Friends are the family we choose” and, if this is so, we must be deliberate and discerning in our choices as love is one of the most powerful forces in human existence. Just as with the word “friend” we often find ourselves misusing the word “love” when we only mean “like very much” or simply “like”. This will happen especially often when we are talking about material objects or art – ‘I love your shirt’ or ‘I love this song’ are things that we can expect to hear. In my opinion, this waters down the word love, robbing it of its special place as an ideal to be sought after. Friendship is the same way. When we use the term friendinstead of acquaintance where there is not more than slight affection we are watering down that term as well.
The ancient Greeks knew very well that these terms should not be used lightly, or the statement to “Love friendship” would not have been on the portico of Apollo’s temple. True friendship is rare and as such should be treated like the treasure it is.