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Eugenio Borgna: “Knowing yourself is the only way to a true friendship”

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Eugenio Borgna: “Knowing yourself is the only way to a true friendship”

Friendship is a fundamental relationship that concerns each of us. It accompanies us over the years, gives comfort and support in difficult moments but has a fragile balance that must be protected. It heals but can also hurt. It changes over time, according to the different ages, gender, characters, external, family, social and historical conditions. It was born in adolescence, but also later. It can bring people from different ages, backgrounds and worlds together. And it can also be present in psychiatry, in the relationship between doctor and patient. A complex theme that is the leitmotif of the latest book by Eugenio Borgnadean of psychiatry in Italy On friendship (ed. Raffaello Cortina).

Professor Borgna, because as Simone Weil said, is it important to learn about loneliness in order to deserve friendship?
“Simon Weil said:” Learn to be alone, if only to deserve true friendship. “The reflection is, as always, dazzling and makes us grasp hidden aspects of our inner life. Loneliness is the premise for a friendship that comes from the heart and, if there is no loneliness, not only our moods are known, but also those of the people we meet “.

Sometimes a lost relationship resurfaces from the past. And we realize that nothing has changed.
“Friendship has in itself the meaning of an infinite dialogue that continues even when we do not see each other, do not meet and talk to each other. When we meet again with a friend, the silence is erased and the absence: the dialogue only apparently lost but in reality never interrupted is reconstituted “.

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Eugenio Borgna

Are friendships made by boys longer lasting?
“The friendships that arise during our adolescence are the most spontaneous, the most free, the most creative and, above all, the most lasting. The elderly tend to be on their own and transform loneliness into isolation, which has nothing to do with it. dealing with true and profound solitude “.

Why are some friendships able to overcome differences, rivalries and quarrels, while others cannot?
“True friendships allow us to heal what are the different ways of living our friendships. The differences are overcome if the relationship is authentic and profound: without this friendship dies. Moreover, if the friendship is what it was in detail described so beautifully by Simone Weil, who defines it as “a miracle”, there can be no rivalry, but only acceptance and understanding of different points of view “.

How important are words in the report?
“Words are living creatures and are those that allow friendly people to enter into a dialogue that never has the aspects of indifference, which is a mortal enemy not only of friendship, but also of the daily relationships we have with others. . We are only sincere when we are able to listen to the language of words, looks, smiles and tears, which say whether or not our hearts are sincere “.

When trust in friendship has been lost, is it possible to forgive and recover it?
“There is no friendship if there is no mutual trust. When trust is lost, it is not easy to recover and forgive it. But it can only be possible if we do not forget the experiences we had with the friend and which can be reborn on the trail of lived memory that never dies “.

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Disappointment in friendship can hurt a part of us that disappears forever. What do you think?
“The wounds of the soul are in each of us when a friendship dies but they are more painful, hotter when a love dies than when a friendship is lost, which instead can be reborn again”.

Sometimes friendships are toxic. The friend makes us feel guilty, tends to manipulate us. How to get out?
“If friendships are not an expression of a common participation in the joys and sorrows, hopes and expectations of the people with whom we relate, they are not friendships and there is no point in keeping them or pretending to keep them”.

Physical contact is also important. If you are friends, you hug each other naturally and the feeling is not confused with love.
“The border that separates the love between people from friendship is sometimes very thin, sometimes very wide to the extent that the language of the body and soul are in balance. There is no tenderness that does not sometimes need of a caress, which is part of an emotion as fragile and creative as tenderness “.

Can you be friends with your partner?
“Friendship, understood as I tried to define it in the course of my latest book, cannot fail to be part of a relationship of love: the more it is alive the more love and friendship are allied to each other”.

What role does friendship play in the relationship between patient and psychiatrist?
“Friendship as a cure can be a fragile ‘liferaft’ when you are sick and perhaps you want to die. There are problems in this emotional closeness between those who are treated and those who care, but saving a life is the task of psychiatry, which it continuously oscillates between its abstract clinical dimension and its relational and dialogic dimension. Friendship has many faces and one of these is suddenly reborn in the moment of an encounter, which brings together those who care and those who are treated in a communion of destiny “.

How has friendship changed in the pandemic? Have online interviews made you more and more virtual?
“The pandemic has allowed us to distinguish sincere and deep mutual friendships even in the hours of extreme suffering. It made us understand differences that were not understood before Covid. It helped us to understand who is really close to us”.

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