I'm reading all this stuff on friendship and 'that' particular inclination, which reminded me of something I once copied for another post from Francis De Sales. I thought it might be a nice followup to yesterday's post. Forgive me, I took a couple of liberties with the text.
"Whatever is founded on mere sensuality, vanity, or frivolity, is unworthy to be called friendship. I mean such attractions as are purely external; a sweet voice, personal beauty, and the cleverness or outward show which have great weight with some. You will often hear
women and young peoplegay men unhesitatingly decide that such an one is very delightful, very admirable, because he is good-looking, well-dressed, sings, or dances, or talks well. Even charlatans esteem the wittiest clown amongst them as their best man. But all these things are purely sensual, and the connections built on such foundation must be vain and frivolous, more fitly to be called trifling than friendship. They spring up chiefly among young people, and gay men who are easily fascinated by personal attractions, dress, and gossip—friendships in which the tailor and hairdresser have the chief part. How can such friendships be other than short lived, melting away like snow wreaths in the sun!" - St. Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life
Too simple? Perhaps.
There are some who will tell you that you should avoid all special affection or friendship, as likely to engross the heart, distract the mind, excite jealousy, and what not. But they are confusing things. They have read in the works of saintly and devout writers that individual friendships and special intimacies are a great hindrance in the religious life, and therefore they suppose it to be the same with all the world, which is not at all the case. - Ibid
NB: Truth be told, St. Francis De Sales' direction on spiritual friendship is more practical for lay people than the work of St. Aelred... just saying.
Don't listen to me, go to confession and get a spiritual director instead.