The “soul friendships” can be difficult to cultivate. As it states in the chapter, they can take time to develop, but usually there is some sort of commonality between the two people in which the friendship can develop into one of the soul. The example in the chapter in which Mark Vernon uses for this is between Montaigne and La Boetie. Montaigne is said to state that individuals that are capable of soul friendship are rare and thus the soul friendship even rarer. He goes on to say that they are a force of destiny. However, Mark Vernon points out that the friendship in which Montaigne and La Boetie formed was based off of timing and the period in which the lived. Both had similar, and dangerous points of view for the time, so when the met their friendship already had a foundation to built upon. This is an important aspect for the development of a friendship of the soul because without some form of commonality in where mutual respect is given the friendship cannot develop into something deeper. The author also uses Emerson and Fuller as an example, even all Emerson uses the “phrase divine friendship.” When they firs met Emerson did not initially take a liking to her, however he soon had a great respect for her because of her mind. This then laid a common ground and mutual respect was able to form and then deepen into a friendship of the soul. I think it is important for friends of the soul to have a foundation of mutual respect, and by having this they are less inclined to be upset or the friendship failing when the other person is completely honest with them. In fact, that should be something that is welcomed, because they respect each other to such a degree that it goes beyond petty indifferences. I can say that I have one such friend, I may not call our friendship a “soul friendship” but it is close. I respect him and he respects me and we have always been able to be honest with each other. It is a friendship where, although there is still and element of self-loving, we can see past our differences and in a way that makes the friendship more meaningful. The reason I say this is that I can count on him to real me back in when I am being a little stubborn, or when I cannot see the truth of a matter because I am blinded by some emotion. The key to is to be honest and respectful and to understand that difference of opinions is what makes the friendship more than just someone I can be around and be polite to.
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning Friendship. New York : Palgrave Macmillian.