¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 “You understand my situation: I’ve told you how good it would be for us, in my opinion, if this worked out. (231) In any case, I don’t think I should lose the chance to get what I am asking for, merely because I don’t happen to be in love with you.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 “A man in love will wish he had not done you any favors once his desire dies down, but the time will never come for a man who’s not in love to change his mind. That is because the favors he does for you are not forced but voluntary; and he does the best that he possibly can for you, just as he would for his own business.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 “Besides, a lover keeps his eye on the balance sheet – where his interests have suffered from love, and where he has done well; and when he adds up all the trouble he has taken, he thinks he’s long since given the boy he loved a fair return. A non-lover, on the other hand, can’t complain about love’s making him neglect his own business; he can’t keep a tab on the trouble he’s been through, or blame you for the quarrels he’s had with his relatives. Take away all those headaches and there’s nothing left for him to do but put his heart into whatever he thinks will give pleasure.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 “Besides, suppose a lover does deserve to be honored because, as they say, he is the best friend his loved one will ever have, and he stands ready to please his boy with all those words and deeds that are so annoying to everyone else. It’s easy to see (if he is telling the truth) that the next time he falls in love he will care more for his new love than for the old one, and it’s clear he’ll treat the old one shabbily whenever that will please the new one.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 “And anyway, what sense does it make to throw away something like that on a person who has fallen into such a miserable condition that those who have suffered it don’t even try to defend themselves against it? A lover will admit that he’s more sick than sound in the head. He’s well aware that he is not thinking straight; but he’ll say he can’t get himself under control. So when he does start thinking straight, why would he stand by decisions he had made when he was sick?
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 “Another point: if you were to choose the best of those who are in love with you, you’d have a pretty small group to pick from; but you’ll have a large group if you don’t care whether he loves you or not and just pick the one who suits you best; and in that larger pool you’ll have a much better hope of finding someone who deserves your friendship.
¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 “Now suppose you’re afraid of conventional standards and the stigma that will come to you if people find out about this. Well, it stands to reason that a lover – thinking that everyone else will admire him for his success (232) as much as he admires himself – will fly into words and proudly declare to all and sundry that his labors were not in vain. Someone who does not love you, on the other hand, can control himself and will choose to do what is best, rather than seek the glory that comes from popular reputation.
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 “Besides, it’s inevitable that a lover will be found out: many people will see that he devotes his life to following the boy he loves. The result is that whenever people see you talking with him they’ll think you are spending time together just before or just after giving way to desire. But they won’t even begin to find fault with people for spending time together if they are not lovers; they know one has to talk to someone, either out of friendship or to obtain some other pleasure.
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 “Another point: have you been alarmed by the thought that it is hard for friendships to last? Or that when people break up, it’s ordinarily just as awful for one side as it is for the other, but when you’ve given up what is most important to you already, then your loss is greater than his? If so, it would make more sense for you to be afraid of lovers. For a lover is easily annoyed, and whatever happens, he’ll think it was designed to hurt him. That is why a lover prevents the boy he loves from spending time with other people. He’s afraid that wealthy men will outshine him with their money, while men of education will turn out to have the advantage of greater intelligence. And he watches like a hawk everyone who may have any other advantage over him! Once he’s persuaded you to turn those people away, he’ll have you completely isolated from friends; and if you show more sense than he does in looking after your own interests, you’ll come to quarrel with him.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 “But if a man really does not love you, if it is only because of his excellence that he got what he asked for, then he won’t be jealous of the people who spend time with you. Quite the contrary! He’ll hate anyone who does not want to be with you; he’ll think they look down on him while those who spend time with you do him good; so you should expect friendship, rather than enmity, to result from this affair.
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 “Another point: lovers generally start to desire your body before they know your character or have any experience of your other traits, with the result that even they can’t tell whether they’ll still want to be friends with (233) you after their desire has passed. Non-lovers, on the other hand, are friends with you even before they achieve their goal, and you’ve no reason to expect that benefits received will ever detract from their friendship for you. No, those things will stand as reminders of more to come.
¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 “Another point: you can expect to become a better person if you are won over by me, rather than by a lover. A lover will praise what you say and what you do far beyond what is best, partly because he is afraid of being disliked, and partly because desire has impaired his judgment. Here is how love draws conclusions: When a lover suffers a reverse that would cause no pain to anyone else, love makes him think he’s accursed! And when he has a stroke of luck that’s not worth a moment’s pleasure, love compels him to sing its praises. The result is, you should feel sorry for lovers, not admire them.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 “If my argument wins you over, I will, first of all give you my time with no thought of immediate pleasure; I will plan instead for the benefits that are to come, since I am master of myself and have not been overwhelmed by love. Small problems will not make me very hostile, and big ones will make me only gradually, and only a little, angry. I will forgive you for unintentional errors and do my best to keep you from going wrong intentionally. All this, you see, is the proof of a friendship that will last a long time.
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 “Have you been thinking that there can be no strong friendship in the absence of erotic love? Then you ought to remember that we would not care so much about our children if that were so, or about our fathers and mothers. And we wouldn’t have had any trustworthy friends, since those relationships did not come from such a desire but from doing quite different things.
¶ 16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 1 “Besides, if it were true that we ought to give the biggest favor to those who need it most, then we should all be helping out the very poorest people, not the best ones, because people we’ve saved from the worst troubles will give us the most thanks. For instance, the right people to invite to a dinner party would be beggars and people who need to sate their hunger, because they’re the ones who’ll be fond of us, follow us, knock on our doors, take the most pleasure with the deepest gratitude, and pray for our success. No, it’s proper, I suppose, to grant your favors to those who are best able to return them, not to those in the direst need – that is, not to those who merely desire the thing, but to those who really (234) deserve it – not to people who will take pleasure in the bloom of your youth, but to those who will share their goods with you when you are older; not to people who achieve their goal and then boast about it in public, but to those who will keep a modest silence with everyone; not to people whose devotion is short-lived, but to those who will be steady friends their whole lives; not to the people who look for an excuse to quarrel as soon as their desire has passed, but to those who will prove their worth when the bloom of your youth has faded. Now, remember what I said and keep this in mind: friends often criticize a lover for bad behavior; but no one close to a non-lover ever thinks that desire has led him into bad judgment about his interests.
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 “And now I suppose you’ll ask me whether I’m urging you to give your favors to everyone who is not in love with you. No. As I see it, a lover would not ask you to give in to all your lovers either. You would not, in that case, earn as much gratitude from each recipient, and you would not be able to keep one affair secret from the others in the same way. But this sort of thing is not supposed to cause any harm, and really should work to the benefit of both sides.