QUESTION 114: OF THE FRIENDLINESS WHICH IS CALLED AFFABILITY
We must now consider the friendliness which is called affability, and
the opposite vices which are flattery and quarreling. Concerning
friendliness or affability, there are two points of inquiry:
(1) Whether it is a special virtue?
(2) Whether it is a part of justice?
Article 1: Whether friendliness is a special virtue?
Objection 1: It seems that friendliness is not a special virtue. For the
Philosopher says (Ethic. viii, 3) that "the perfect friendship is that
which is on account of virtue." Now any virtue is the cause of
friendship: "since the good is lovable to all," as Dionysius states (Div.
Nom. iv). Therefore friendliness is not a special virtue, but a
consequence of every virtue.
Objection 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 6) of this kind of
friend that he "takes everything in a right manner both from those he
loves and from those who are not his friends." Now it seems to pertain to
simulation that a person should show signs of friendship to those whom he
loves not, and this is incompatible with virtue. Therefore this kind of
friendliness is not a virtue.
Objection 3: Further, virtue "observes the mean according as a wise man
decides" (Ethic. ii, 6). Now it is written (Eccles. 7:5): "The heart of
the wise is where there is mourning, and the heart of fools where there
is mirth": wherefore "it belongs to a virtuous man to be most wary of
pleasure" (Ethic. ii, 9). Now this kind of friendship, according to the
Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 6), "is essentially desirous of sharing
pleasures, but fears to give pain." Therefore this kind of friendliness
is not a virtue.
On the contrary, The precepts of the law are about acts of virtue. Now
it is written (Ecclus. 4:7): "Make thyself affable to the congregation of
the poor." Therefore affability, which is what we mean by friendship, is
a special virtue.
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ; FS, Question , Article ), since
virtue is directed to good, wherever there is a special kind of good,
there must needs be a special kind of virtue. Now good consists in order,
as stated above (Question , Article ). And it behooves man to be maintained in a
becoming order towards other men as regards their mutual relations with
one another, in point of both deeds and words, so that they behave
towards one another in a becoming manner. Hence the need of a special
virtue that maintains the becomingness of this order: and this virtue is
Reply to Objection 1: The Philosopher speaks of a twofold friendship in his Ethics. One consists chiefly in the affection whereby one man loves another and may result from any virtue. We have stated above, in treating of charity (Question , Article , Article , ad 1; Questions ,26), what things belong to this kind of friendship. But he mentions another friendliness, which consists merely in outward words or deeds; this has not the perfect nature of friendship, but bears a certain likeness thereto, in so far as a man behaves in a becoming manner towards those with whom he is in contact.
Reply to Objection 2: Every man is naturally every man's friend by a certain
general love; even so it is written (Ecclus. 13:19) that "every beast
loveth its like." This love is signified by signs of friendship, which we
show outwardly by words or deeds, even to those who are strangers or
unknown to us. Hence there is no dissimulation in this: because we do not
show them signs of perfect friendship, for we do not treat strangers with
the same intimacy as those who are united to us by special friendship.
Reply to Objection 3: When it is said that "the heart of the wise is where there
is mourning" it is not that he may bring sorrow to his neighbor, for the
Apostle says (Rm. 14:15): "If, because of thy meat, thy brother be
grieved, thou walkest not now according to charity": but that he may
bring consolation to the sorrowful, according to Ecclus. 7:38, "Be not
wanting in comforting them that weep, and walk with them that mourn."
Again, "the heart of fools is where there is mirth," not that they may
gladden others, but that they may enjoy others' gladness. Accordingly, it
belongs to the wise man to share his pleasures with those among whom he
dwells, not lustful pleasures, which virtue shuns, but honest pleasures,
according to Ps. 132:1, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity."
Nevertheless, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 6), for the sake of
some good that will result, or in order to avoid some evil, the virtuous
man will sometimes not shrink from bringing sorrow to those among whom he
lives. Hence the Apostle says (2 Cor. 7:8): "Although I made you
sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent," and further on (2 Cor. 7:9),
"I am glad; not because you were made sorrowful, but because you were
made sorrowful unto repentance." For this reason we should not show a
cheerful face to those who are given to sin, in order that we may please
them, lest we seem to consent to their sin, and in a way encourage them
to sin further. Hence it is written (Ecclus. 7:26): "Hast thou daughters?
Have a care of their body, and show not thy countenance gay towards them."
Article 2: Whether this kind of friendship is a part of justice?
Objection 1: It seems that this kind of friendship is not a part of justice.
For justice consists in giving another man his due. But this virtue does
not consist in doing that, but in behaving agreeably towards those among
whom we live. Therefore this virtue is not a part of justice.
Objection 2: Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 6), this virtue
is concerned about the joys and sorrows of those who dwell in fellowship.
Now it belongs to temperance to moderate the greatest pleasures, as
stated above (FS, Question , Article ; FS, Question , Article ). Therefore this virtue is
a part of temperance rather than of justice.
Objection 3: Further, to give equal things to those who are unequal is
contrary to justice, as stated above (Question , Articles ,2). Now, according to
the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 6), this virtue "treats in like manner known
and unknown, companions and strangers." Therefore this virtue rather than
being a part of justice is opposed thereto.
On the contrary, Macrobius (De Somno Scip. i) accounts friendship a part
I answer that, This virtue is a part of justice, being annexed to it as
to a principal virtue. Because in common with justice it is directed to
another person, even as justice is: yet it falls short of the notion of
justice, because it lacks the full aspect of debt, whereby one man is
bound to another, either by legal debt, which the law binds him to pay,
or by some debt arising out of a favor received. For it regards merely a
certain debt of equity, namely, that we behave pleasantly to those among
whom we dwell, unless at times, for some reason, it be necessary to
displease them for some good purpose.
Reply to Objection 1: As we have said above (Question , Article , ad 1), because man is
a social animal he owes his fellow-man, in equity, the manifestation of
truth without which human society could not last. Now as man could not
live in society without truth, so likewise, not without joy, because, as
the Philosopher says (Ethic. viii), no one could abide a day with the sad
nor with the joyless. Therefore, a certain natural equity obliges a man
to live agreeably with his fellow-men; unless some reason should oblige
him to sadden them for their good.
Reply to Objection 2: It belongs to temperance to curb pleasures of the senses.
But this virtue regards the pleasures of fellowship, which have their
origin in the reason, in so far as one man behaves becomingly towards
another. Such pleasures need not to be curbed as though they were noisome.
Reply to Objection 3: This saying of the Philosopher does not mean that one ought
to converse and behave in the same way with acquaintances and strangers,
since, as he says (Ethic. iv, 6), "it is not fitting to please and
displease intimate friends and strangers in the same way." This likeness
consists in this, that we ought to behave towards all in a fitting manner.