We came across the term “Philia” when we were halfway through developing this peer coaching programme and immediately fell in love with it. Generally speaking, Philia is the Greek term for love.
In addition to Philia, the Greeks defined three other types of love: Eros, Storge and Agape. Eros refers to passionate love. Storge is familial love such as the love between mother and child. Thirdly, Agape stands for the highest form of love, such as the universal love of God for man and of man for God. Philia is often translated as “sisterly love”. It is the benevolent love between two virtuous people, between true friends.
Having this definition and our own experiences from the programme in mind, “our” Philia is a fictional character that we created. In our mind we are all Philia. We are Philia to ourselves and we are Philia to our friends – we just oftentimes do not know that yet and need to come into contact with Philia, who is sitting inside of us waiting for us to unlock the door fer her to let her free.
Philia is our internal warrior lady. She is always on our side. She is smart. She knows exactly what she wants from life and for herself. She has a purpose. She has needs and expectations, yet she is not needy. She is classy and a great communicator. She is all of these things because her own internal dialogue is clear and flexible and gives her great directions on how to handle any and every challenge in life. But Philia is at the same time not self-centred at all. She is charitable and generous. And most importantly, she is a true friend.
Looking back at the old Greeks, Aristotle argued in relation to the term Philia that one’s friend is “another oneself”. And so the pleasure that the virtuous person gets from his own life is also found in the life of another virtuous person. “Anyone who is to be happy, then, must have excellent friends”.