The key lies in who we talk to, and who we listen to, on what really concerns us. We can sometimes talk more honestly to strangers than to friends, but not with the same degree of significance, because what we discuss with friends stays alive in the relationship thereafter, affecting its course and influencing the character of the parties to it. Aristotle described a friend as “another self”, and that is sometimes true enough to make a friend the deceiver we need when we need to be deceived, and the absolver we need when we need absolution. But more importantly still, friends are the Others we need, and who need us, for the sake of the difference and connectedness which give us the feedback, the testing ground, the support and the acceptably modulated challenges that condition us – and the companionship and merriment that keep us sane.

heightfreight:

Extract from Heart of Things by A.C. Grayling

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