Lewis on Friendship

C. S. Lewis abounded in friends, those with whom he could spend many hours enjoying their company. In one of his letters, he wrote, “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” He also hinted at the value of friendship in an essay on Hamlet, when he said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”

C. S. Lewis Quote on FriendshipHe expressed perhaps his most penetrating comments on true friendship in his book The Four Loves, where he gets to the heart of what is essential in a real friendship:

We picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead. That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends.

Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be “I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a Friend,” no Friendship can arise—though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice.

Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.

We all need the kind of friends Lewis describes here, yet his analysis is accurate: there must be something the friendship is about. For Christians, their shared love of God should be the cornerstone of any friendship.