Aristotle on the WOO Dilemma

While reading through Aristotle’s account of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics, I happened upon this very concise and accurately articulated account of the difficulty I have with the WOO (Winning Others Over) StrengthsQuest type:

“…differences between friends most frequently arise when the nature of their friendship is not what they think it is. When therefore a man has made a mistake, and has fancied that he was loved for his character, without there having been anything in his friend’s behavior to warrant the assumption, he has only himself to blame. But when he has been deceived by his friend’s pretense, there is ground for complaint against the deceiver: in fact he is a worse malefactor than those who counterfeit the coinage, inasmuch as his offence touches something more precious than money.”

(Nicomachean Ethics, IX.3)

I would like to qualify this by saying that the “deceit” in many WOOs’ case is not a conscious one. For one reason or another they have developed a personality type that causes them to give others the impression that they value them for their own sake as what Aristotle calls a “character friend.”

However, this is rarely the case, as WOOs tend to give this impression to so many people that they are unable to perform the acts expected of a true character friendship to all of them. These omissions inevitably hurt those who thought they had a true character friend in the WOO. It is especially hurtful when the WOO does not realize this, or if he/she does realize it and makes no attempt at recompense.

I could probably write more on this, but that’s the gist of my beef.

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