Thursday, September 11, 2008

On friendship

As my grandmother said:"Don't tell your friends anything you would not want them to know if they were not your friends." - blog comment from the New York Times today.

This is rather confusing. Isn't confiding in a friend about the only reason to have friends? We have friends to talk to about things that would waste your doctor or lawyer's time, to be sure. But you would also tell them things you would not tell just anyone and that is why they are friends.

Secrets are told not just to friends, but to your doctor or lawyer, for example. But you inevitably confide in a friend something that concerns you (something private, perhaps your family history or property details). But this maxim argues that you should not tell a friend this private confidence in case everyone finds out about it. This might be true if you have something to hide...

But what are friends for but to keep those kinds of secrets? This maxim is advocating not confiding in a friend at all. But what is the point of friendship? With whom is one a friend? What is friendship for?

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