Philia is what the Greeks called friendship, and they valued it far more than the base sexuality of Eros. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.
Aristotle takes philia to be both necessary as a means to happiness. He argues that to be a wholly virtuous and fulfilled person necessarily involves having others for whom one is concerned; without them, one’s life is incomplete – “No one would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other goods”.
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
– Elbert Hubbard
We can all ask ourselves how much of this philia we have in our lives. It’s an important question in an age when we attempt to amass “friends” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter—achievements that would have hardly impressed the Greeks.
See other: Kinds of Greek Love