Friendliness: A Virtue Seniors Should Pursue

Aristotle listed friendliness as a key virtue in attaining happiness, and Cicero specifically recommended it for seniors in his essay De Senectute, or On Old Age.

Cicero. Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

Cicero. Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

Cicero had a point. If we make a conscious effort to be friendly, we can avoid becoming the grumpy old person that none of us wants to be.  Friendliness can be useful too.

Donna and I knew a senior in assisted living who took a turn toward grumpiness. This made it difficult for friends and staff to offer her the emotional support they wanted to give.  We knew another senior who remained friendly and welcoming through three years in a nursing home. He had a steady stream of visitors, including some who took him out for drives or to restaurants.  He never lacked for coffee milkshakes, his favorite, which friends brought from the local ice cream parlor.

Anger in seniors can have physical causes, such as dementia or the side effects of medications. Depression, fear, and loss of a loved one can play their role.

But to the extent possible, we should resist becoming grouchy. We ought to send cards, give presents, keep in touch, be cheerful around company, and not be rude. That’s what the ancients would have recommended — and moderns do too.  We’ll feel better about ourselves, and we’ll have more friends around us when we need them.






1 thought on “Friendliness: A Virtue Seniors Should Pursue

  1. Pingback: Politics Matter: An Update on the Older Americans Act | Common Sense for Seniors

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