(Steve, your story does not add up. But he waited to express these thoughts until he could blend them with some more generous ones. He ultimately said he understood that she was trying to please him, and that he should have complimented her at the time, but that he also wanted them to have a bigger conversation later. She said she understood why he felt the way he did, and why his mixed feelings had made it hard for him to compliment her. In our session, they agreed they should come up with clearer agreements about discretionary spending. They also agreed she should start looking for a job. IT WOULD HAVE been easier if Willa and Sam had been more compatible in their philosophies about money in the first place. As couples go, they were not unusual in having spent virtually no time up front contemplating how they differed, or even defining what their personal views were. Hard-nosed money discussions are not a natural fit with new love. In the glow of idealization, people may even welcome a novel approach to spending (He frees me up, She makes me more responsible) as a corrective to their own. Courtship is an expansive (and expensive) time, and even the most steadfast skinflint will likely relax his standards out of sheer excitement or to signal appropriate ardor. Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus wrote within two or three generations of each other, and the later Romans Cicero and Seneca, who also paid attention to the subject, did so to recover what they thought was being lost in relation to the Greek take on things. Why is it that not since the Greeks has friendship been thought a problem worthy of a solution, Nietzsche wondered? Perhaps friendship was high on their agenda because it was high up on their list of social goods, in a way that it is not today, for all that we tell ourselves friendship matters. A second age of writing on friendship, perhaps more silver than golden, occurs in the Middle Ages. It produced the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas, Aelred of Rievaulx and Anselm. The rare philosopher of friendship after them, notably Montaigne, writes rather like Cicero and Seneca, in a mood that laments the present and tries to look back. Evidence of another sort is found if one considers the tales and legends of famous friends: the greatest are again located and promoted in the same periods of history. The myths of Orestes and Pylades, Achilles and Patroclus, and Aristogiton and Harmodius were celebrated in classical times. The tales of Amys and Amylion, Bewick and Graham, and Abelard and Heloise are medieval.

What we might say is that ancient friendship appears to have been neither wholly private nor wholly public. Making peace with what I cannot change and forgiving myself is accepting. And the remaining questions are about my family and my health. There's no correct number of questions. The number is a personal choice, a function of how many issues you want to work on. Some of my clients have only three or four questions to go through each night. My list is twenty-two questions deep because I need a lot of help (obviously) but also because I've been doing this a long time. I've had years to deal with some of the broad interpersonal issues that seem like obvious targets for successful people just starting out with Daily Questions - for example, suppressing the need to win at all times or being more collaborative. I've conquered these issues, at least to the point that they're no longer overriding issues worthy of my Daily Questions list. The week I'm covering in the spreadsheet above is typical for me outside the United States. I traveled from New York to Rome, then Barcelona, then Madrid, then Zurich, and ended with boarding a flight to Djakarta via Singapore. ) The stories they tell do not fit together in certain important ways: They are vague, inconsistent, and have large gaps. The stories they tell are strangely empty of believable detail. The stories they tell do not feel real to the interviewer. The AAI is a semi-structured interview in which an adult is asked a series of questions about her own childhood: What was growing up like for you? How was your early relationship with each parent? Did you have significant experiences of separation? Were you often upset or fearful? Did you have significant early losses of love objects? Did your relationship with your parents change over time?

How do you think these factors affected your own development? When the inevitable moment of reckoning comes--a wedding to be planned or a budget to be drawn up or an apartment to be chosen--the trade-offs and limits can chafe against romantic enthusiasm and the illusion of seamless compatibility. I remember sitting in a Chicago restaurant with friends, overhearing a conversation at the next table. A young woman announced to her dinner partner that she had decided to quit her job to plan their wedding. An excruciating silence followed. As I casually buttered my bread, I was riveted out of the corner of my eye by the pivotal relational moment unfolding. It felt terribly saturated with all the couple's future misunderstandings and unspoken disappointments. This was the moment that something difficult had to be said, and I was mutely rooting for the man to say it: How come you didn't talk about it with me? Shouldn't this be a joint decision? I don't know if that's the wisest move. We have to figure this out together. Quasi-institutions of friendship, like the symposium, linked the political with the personal. Political philosophers, like Aristotle, advocated a kind of civic affection on top of the rights and responsibilities of which political rhetoric is largely composed today. Thus, if today, the remarkable thing about democracy is that it is a way of life voluntarily shared by strangers, in ancient Athens, friendship played a widespread, if sometimes compromised, role in the life of citizens. It was not always easy. Often it made enemies. But because politics was assumed to be close to friendship, when functioning at its best, philosophers like Aristotle sought to articulate just what conditions might sustain and support the link between the two. This effort is not something that many muse on today. Our relationships as citizens are mediated between by impersonal institutions, like the law, possibly with detrimental effects on our affections for one another as a result. Every cloud has a silver lining, and there is a more positive side to the retreat of friendship from the public.

For example, when operating mainly in the private sphere, the range of individuals one might count as friends seems to have been extended. I gave lengthy presentations in each of the three European cities. I had some travel frustrations - a driver who didn't show up (which I could have used as an excuse to get angry). I had some good nights of sleep and some not-so-good (which I could have blamed on the changing time zones in my schedule). I had challenges with my diet, since Rome and Madrid have tempting dining scenes (which I could have used as an excuse to eat too much). I totally enjoyed the time I was standing up in front of people and making a presentation. I spent a lot of time on emails and minor distractions. I didn't get as much writing done as I hoped. All of these outcomes are there for me to reflect on each night as I put in my scores. The net reflection on this particular week: I need to be a better father-in-law. (My son-in-law Reid is a great guy. The AA1 interview, once complete, is analyzed for a great number of factors, including overall coherence, unrealistic idealization of a parent, lack of recall of important details, anger, vagueness, fear, significant gaps in information, or obvious discontinuities. One important area of analysis is in the area of losses. Some individuals become extremely disorganized or even disoriented when talking about losses of family members by death or other means--especially, as it turns out, losses as a result of abuse. (Yes, abuse of various kinds triggers a complicated set of losses. ) A key component of the interviewing technique, say its developers, is surprising the unconscious of the interviewee by asking deep, penetrating questions about intimate attachment issues, including early memories and their interviewees' reflections on the same. When confronted head-on, it turns out that interviewees themselves are often stunned by their story's obvious lack of coherence. Just for a moment, they see the gaps in their recall. They feel dizzy.

In the safety of our chats, John had uncovered just what this more structured interview would likely have found about my own narrative: it was a grand cover-up. Instead he remained quiet, and the mood remained tense. I thought I saw him reposition himself in light of this new information, as if he were rearranging his internal emotional furniture. Something in the hardness that entered his expression was heartbreaking. He seemed to be making the fateful decision not to fight and to withdraw--here, at the very beginning of their life together. And she, from the sound of her brief statement, was making two fateful mistakes by which money issues come to doom a marriage. First, she was avoiding thinking about limits; second, she posed the issue as a fait accompli, thus choosing not to think together about the choices in front of them. In part, money is stressful because it is frustrating to confront limits and to live within them. It requires willpower, taking the long view, and doing without; it means making choices between different goals. In another letter, Seneca compliments one Lucilius for living on friendly terms with his slaves. They are unpretentious friends, Seneca says, fellow-slaves as far as fortune is concerned: That is why I smile at those who think it degrading for a man to dine with his slave. But why should they think it degrading? It is only because purse-proud etiquette surrounds a householder at his dinner with a mob of standing slaves. Together they devised a programme of annual conventions at which participants gave speeches and read poems: the women realised that this mode of social action was effective both in terms of developing their philosophy and in terms of presenting women in different public roles. (Contemporary newspaper reports express surprise that women are actually as good at oratory as men. ) The friendship was also a forum to discuss their experiments in how to dress and behave in public. Similarly, they talked about how women could set their own agenda in the pursuit of happiness, something that had hitherto been the prerogative of men. All in all, their friendship was a private powerhouse driving a prophetic way of life.