Truly speaking there are no specific criteria for friendship; anyone can be friends as long as there is mutual love, respect, trust, intimacy and understanding between them. The question whether friends are necessary is relevant in the present day context as the number of true friends diminishes day by day and because of the fact that most of the friendships are, as Aristotle states, either utility or pleasure motivated. No doubt, friends are precious treasures whose value cannot be measured, if they are true and good.
Aristotle considers friendship as one of the most coveted and inevitable parts in one's life. He is of the opinion that everyone needs friends whether he/she is poor or rich, in fortune or misfortune. Friends are the innate need of every individual; everyone needs to be cared, loved, supported, and motivated. Aristotle feels that there should be "a natural friendship for a child, and a child for a parent" (p.30) so that the parents can keep their children away from all sorts of wrong actions and can care for them without any communication gaps. In the modern world, his words are highly relevant as there are a lot of broken families and as young and adolescent children are being easily misled as they do not get the needed love or support from the family. Aristotle is of the opinion that enmity and distrust are the greatest hurdles in the path of good friendships.
Aristotle then goes on to deal with some of the most common disputed aspects of friendships. He feels that there is a general misconception that friendship "is a sort of similarity and that similar people are friends." (p.31). He disputes this general notion by stating that "similar people are all like the proverbial potters, quarrelling with each other." (p.31). Anyone who has experienced the friendships of people who are similar in any respects would disagree with this generalization of Aristotle. Of course, there could a many 'similar' friends who quarrel each other but how can one ever forget the majority of such friends who find meaning in their similarity
Who can be considered to be a good friend and what are the basic criteria behind meaningful friendships deserve attention. Aristotle in his article deals with the basic criterion regarding friendships and asks whether 'vicious' people can be made friends. Another very relevant question raised by him is: "Do people love what is good, or what is good for them" (p.31): the question has forced many to look inwardly and judge for themselves. Now what is good varies from individual to individual and so one can never take it for granted that what one loves is always good. Instead everyone loves "what appears good for him." (p.32). Thus, it is evident that goodness is an essential part of friendship and what is good varies from individual to individual. Aristotle goes further to explain the basic criteria for good friendships. According to him there should be mutual love for both the parties, a sort of 'reciprocated good will' of which both the parties are aware of. Once this mutual love no longer exists in any friendship, it is likely to get faded and diminished.
Having established that mutual love is an essential ingredient of friendships, the author then tries to categorize the various types of friendships. The first type of friendship is between people who love each other either for 'utility' or for 'pleasure'. For him, such type of