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Friends and Lovers



A recent conversation, which was often personal and at times heated, led to the question whether it is possible or necessary or even better to have as your lover a friend, either a good one or the best one, of course not a bad one but still one.

I, naturally, and this has been my position way back, believe that you are either my friend or my lover, and if you are not either, you are then my enemy or someone to which I am indifferent. While it does in fact happen that one-time friends may become lovers (the blooming principle) and former lovers become rather good friends (the salvage principle), I have a suspicion that both instances hide motives well unlike love and benevolence. The friend-turned-lover was a wolf in sheep's clothing to begin with; he wishes to remain a friend so as to set-up and wait for the opportunity to tear out his disguise and turn into a lover. The former lover, and this belief might not be popular, I think lingers around as a supposedly concerned ("we go a long way back") friend because while he may never admit it he vainly wishes that there might still be a chance for a reprise, a rebound, even a misstep--and then the horror of horrors: he was not cured of his passions! 


We do not befriend friends because we are attracted to them or because we desire them, and we do not love beloveds because we want to befriend them. Never mix water with wine, be honest about love as your own will to power in disguise, and do see Plato.


Friends usually mirror us: Aristotle already said that like is known by like, hence the clichés. Love turns friendship on its head: to love someone like yourself is to love yourself. We are attracted to what opposes us. Hence the other clichés.


To desire is to long for what is distant because it is different from us. Friends are already near and with us and thus there is reason to desire them.


Friends do not require that you see them often, and when you do it's as if you just saw them yesterday; you pick up the thread easily and there is no need to explain for one's long absence. Love, on the contrary, needs to see and see often. Absence makes the heart wander and doubt.


Perhaps the lover could--no, should--become a companion and a friend in old age. While love brings happiness to life, friendship lessens the fear of death.



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