Epstein suggests in the second half of his sixth chapter on Friendship: An Expose, eight reasons why friendship as an art, as a preoccupation, or as a core value is no longer what it was. Wondering what you think of these ideas and whether or not they have influenced your development of friendships. Good or bad?
1. It has no legal status; in a society where laws shape more and more of life, friendship isn’t calculably valuable.
2. Life has turned too therapeutic, and humans are too often seeking their own good.
3. We are more mobile.
4. Divorce is on the rise.
5. Social institutions are fewer and less valuable that emphasize same-sex friendships. [I know of a golf course, a private one to be sure, that prohibits women from the clubhouse and course. At one time they were common.]
6. Family commitments are considered more valuable, and family is more demanding.
7. We live in a child-centered society, leading to less time for parents to pursue friendships.
8. More and more focus on marriage leads to lessening of time for friendships.
I’ve tended to have my most important friendships at work, and I spend time with co-workers who become my friends. I’ve almost never had a time in my life when I would go out with “the guys” at night for basketball or softball. Golf is another story: for years I’ve played with Jim Nelson (and David Gill when he was teaching here at NPU), and we play once a week. (Which I can resume next week; the deadline for Mary meant no golf so far this summer.) Kris and I have always reserved weekends for one another and for our family, so I’ve ever played golf on weekends. So, I guess family time has cut into my chance to have what Epstein calls those “classical friendships.”