Beware of particular friendship
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - September 27, 2018 - 12:00am

We, of course, should as much as possible be friends of everyone. We have to be very friendly with everyone, knowing how to properly show affection which is a human necessity. But we have to be careful with what is known as particular friendship.


This is the kind, as any dictionary would say, that involves “an exclusive association between two persons based upon emotional fascination. As such, it is a perversion of God’s gift of good and wholesome friendship.”

We have to be wary of this kind of friendship because it does not conform to the objective nature of friendship. True friendship is when two persons share a good that is proper to their dignity as persons and children of God.

Ultimately, true friendship is when the pursuit of God, the supreme good, is shared by at least two persons. In the gospel, Christ somehow describes what true friendship is when he said:

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jn 15,15)

These words, in effect, define what true friendship is. We have to be wary because we always have the tendency to define friendship according to our own terms and they hardly conform to this standard set out by Christ. That is why we often have what we call a good friend, our best friend, a special friend, a BFF, an FB friend, etc.

Particular friendship is often characterized by an exaggerated attachment to a certain person that can involve improper sexual attraction and activities. It can be between two persons of different sexes, or of the same sex.

It usually happens among little children who do not know yet about the true nature of friendship. Theirs usually does not involve impropriety with regard to the human sexual dimension, but the children have to be properly educated about friendship so that they can develop their relationship properly.

In this the elders have to be responsible—the parents, the teachers, and other adults, etc. They have to make sure that a proper environment is created, because children just usually follow what they see around. And actually, there are many things in the environment right now that are not helpful and are, in fact, harmful in this regard.

As much as possible, they have to be prevented from being exposed to bad examples in this regard. And if these bad examples cannot be avoided, then the proper guidance should be made.

With those who are not anymore little children and are showing signs of particular friendship, help should be given in many different and appropriate ways. For one, they should be made aware of the dangers of such friendship and know the true nature of friendship. They have to be taught the basics of rational psychology that would explain to them the proper roles of our spiritual soul and the emotions and passions, etc.

Definitely, it would be good if spiritual direction can also be given to them, since people with this particular problem need time and accompaniment. They need to be understood. They need to be clarified about certain ideas, and to ventilate certain repressed urges and impulses. These are delicate matters that have to be handled properly.

In the meantime, it would be good that some public effort be made to promote the true nature of friendship. This issue cannot be taken for granted anymore. There are now a growing number of particular friendships blighting our society and the world in general. Of course, we should do this in charity and prudence.

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