“A friend to all is a friend to none.”
To those who have watched a movie called The Incredibles, this quote might seem oddly familiar.
Syndrome says something similar when he has Mr. Incredible confined with these big heavy weights on his hands and feet, which are attached to a ring around him using some kind of technology that we haven’t developed yet. It’s a scene where Mr. Incredible is angry (or rather, incredibly angry), and Syndrome tells him that he’s going to use his technology to give everybody powers, because “when everybody is super, nobody is.”
The same logic applies to our friendships. When one person is friends with everyone, the quality of their relationships takes a nosedive. The reason for this isn’t necessarily because the person doesn’t care, but it’s more because they literally can’t. There’s no possible way that they can be friends with everybody they come across and truly care about all of them. They can’t check on everyone they meet and they can’t be there for everybody. This is an extreme case of course, but extreme cases allow us to imagine and perceive what things can look like.
In our day to day live, a person who has too many friends most likely seems like they’re a nice person, but it’s fake. Again, they might genuinely care, but no matter how hard they try it will seem like it’s fake.
We can take this back to an evolutionary standpoint. Our ancestors would have flourished in reasonably sized groups, with some to hunt, some to gather, and some to find shelter. The smart thing to do then would be get a lot of friends so that you have less work to do.
I could be wrong, but I think something prevented us from doing that — that’s why society has so many problems nowadays. We crave division because we don’t want to have to care for others, whether we like it or not.
The solution to this isn’t to divide — the solution is to take care of ourselves, our family, and our close friends. Of course, I encourage you to have some kind of… well, drive. Have something you fight for and stand up for, because it’s important to stand up for what you think is right.
Aristotle reminds us that you simply can not befriend everyone — and to try to do otherwise would be unwise. CHoose your friends wisely.
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