Volume 82, 2008
Marie I. George
Aquinas on Whether One Ought to Confide All One’s Problems to True Friends
Probably most of us have suffered at the hands of a friend who continually turned to us for help, as well having been grieved by a friend who failed to do so on a given occasion. And we have probably been chagrinned by friends who divulge to us only the most limited knowledge about their past problems, as well as by friends who provide unnecessary information about their woeful past. The purpose of this paper is to set out Aquinas’s recommendations for the moral guidelines to be followed in deciding which problems we disclose to our friends; these guidelines include: (1) not placing burdens on friends unnecessarily; (2) affording one’s friends the opportunity to do one good; (3) living in accord with one’s social nature; (4) being genuine; (5) encouraging friends struggling with moral problems; (6) bearing faith witness on occasion; (7) avoiding scandal; and (8) avoiding vices involving speech.