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What is your opinion on the quote: A friend of everybody is a friend of nobody. What is the importance of having relationships unique only to one, better to be special for some than a public counter to every one.

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Bruce Bergman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bringing to bear a generic affability that is equal to everyone and not emphasized, specialized, or individualized for anyone seems to diminish the importance of personal relationships. Socializing in this way is like wearing a "public face" at all times. 

Though there are times for all of us where we choose to be generically pleasant instead of truly personal, even with friends, I don't know that this issue is especially problematic for most of us. In part, this seems to be the case by virtue of the nature of friendship.

Friendship, as a relationship type, is defined by intimacy, openness, and familiarity. Truly then, a person treating everyone with equal pleasantness has no friend.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I don't agree.  Friendship is not something that is in limited supply.  A person does not have to be unfriendly to anyone to be a true friend.

When I say this, I am thinking that the word "friend" need not mean "close friend."  It could simply mean someone who acts in a kind way towards others.  A person could easily, using that sense of the word, be a friend to everybody.  Acting in that way would not preclude the person from being a special friend, a good friend, to a much more limited number of people.

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Tushar Chandra eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think this quote says a lot of things. In life, the things that are available for free, without your doing anything to obtain it, are seldom given the same importance that things that you have to put in effort to obtain.

The same is in a way true of relations too. A person who is always ready to be a friend for everybody, is seldom treated in the same way that a person whose friendship has to be earned. If you display unconditional friendship, it isn't special anymore. And it is in a sense meaningless as everyone is treated by you as a friend by default. Your friendship is no longer important for others. It could be equated as a example to the fact that none of us value something commonplace like air, unless we are trapped underwater while diving and then every breath we are able to take is the difference between life and death.

We all need some things that we can treat as our own, things that are special and which only we have access to. This idea is not restricted to just material possessions; even things like love and friendship are included here.

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acompanioninthetardis | Student

A friend of everybody is a friend of nobody.

this quote is true because people don't necessarily like each other all the time, so they say bad things, and if you keep agreeing with everything everyone says even if you contradict yourself, you will become one of the backstabbers because you had previously agreed with that friends side of the argument. hence if you see someone talking bad about it you should just stand up for your friend, and stick to the side of the argument you believed in or else no one will trust you and you will have no friends trying to be friends with everyone. 

shahrzadshirin | Student

I think you mix "to be a friend" with "being friendly". Making friendship needs some personal principles upon which you build a special relation with someone,it can grow in time to a deeper levels or it may stop. Being friendly is a social etiquette which is desired "by" and "to" everybody, the necessity of being friendly to people never fails in time.

shahrzadshirin | Student

True, may I add this also:the Air is vital, special,and not common,just because it is a unique phenomenon in our lives, thus,if it can be replaced by other phenomenona,then it is not special,vital,and unique to our is just a common word of three letters;A,I,R! In love also,when someone makes him/herself a common person to every one,then s/he deprives him/herself of being a unique person to another unique being,limitting and replacing the vastness and uniqueness of love to a small,common phenomenon,which can not be called "love" any more,it is only a word of very common letters:R E L A T I O N!