Socrates had good friends. Not just Bill and Ted.

Socrates was not a physically attractive man. He had big bulging eyes and a piggy nose. He wore dirty clothes and no shoes. He yelled at people in the marketplace and asked them really hard questions. Then he trapped them into contradicting themselves until they had to admit that they didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about. They would then ask him in frustration, “What is right then?” At least half the time his answer would be, “I don’t know either.”

Despite all of these unpleasant qualities, Socrates had great friends. Crito, Cebes, and Phaedo all showed up to hang out with him right up until he was forced to drink the poison hemlock. Plato couldn’t make it because he was sick. Sometimes friends don’t want to come out and they make up excuses. This happens.

Socrates was very poor. He may have occasionally made money as a stone worker. He may have done odds jobs around the city at certain times. History is not quite sure. We do know that he had an option available to him that would have made him lots of money, but he never chose it. He could have become a Sophist. These were teachers who trained men on how to use rhetoric to succeed in politics and law. They charged a lot of money for this education. Instead, Socrates rendered a much more complete education onto those around him and he charged them nothing.

All he asked from them was their friendship.

I can dig that. These men and women socialized in much the same way that we do with our friends today. The Symposium by Plato takes place at a drinking party. The participants get drunk and try to explain to each other what Love (Eros) is. I know you’ve been to at least one party where that happens. Another work by Plato is set the morning after such a party, with everyone complaining about how hungover they are.

They went on trips to other cities together. They fought over love interests. They gossiped. They discussed what life should be.

What I take from it is that building many different kinds of relationships with many different people is universal. This is something that is a part of the human experience. Don’t be afraid to focus on it, and put effort into it. Develop the friendships you have and make new ones whenever possible. Most importantly, experience them for exactly what they are.

If you happen to go back in time in a phone booth and meet Socrates, I recommend you start with “All we are is dust in the wind, Dude.”

Seemed to work for Bill and Ted