Skip to content

Friendship for Fathers: John Cuddeback on Living and Teaching the Art

In a recent national survey of adults in America, a striking sixty-one percent of young adults (age 18-25) reported feeling serious loneliness. Such feelings of loneliness were also accompanied by anxiety and depression. Although humans are by nature social animals, it would seem that forming deep friendships may not always come so naturally.

How do we form friendships? How do we help our sons form friendships? What even is friendship?

To help us answer these questions, we welcome to HeightsCast John Cuddeback, professor of philosophy at Christendom College and Life Craft writer and speaker. In this episode, Professor Cuddeback helps us understand what friendship is, how to practice the art of friendship, and how friendship goes hand-in-hand with happiness. As he explains, friendships do not merely happen. Rather, they require intentional cultivation and sustained effort. Indeed, like any art, the art of friendship requires discipline and practice. Specifically, Professor Cuddeback focuses our attention on how a husband can form a deep friendship with his wife and a few male friends, as well as how he can help his children to grow in their own friendships. Being a father first, he may one day become a friend of his adult children. 

As Professor Cuddeback explains, true friendship is the only way to overcome loneliness in life. And, in the end, it will be in sharing our lives with friends that we come to find the ultimate meaning of our lives.


  • 1:25 What is friendship? 
  • 4:15 Different kinds of friendship 
  • 9:05 Friendship and human flourishing
  • 11:05 Happiness today 
  • 14:00 The activities of friendship
  • 19:40 The number of friends
  • 24:40 Friendship for the twenty-first century father
  • 28:00 Selecting friends 
  • 33:30 Friendship with your spouse 
  • 41:10 Friendship with other men
  • 44:30 How to prioritize relationships
  • 47:15 Parenting and friendship
  • 50:47 How to coach our children in forming friendships
  • 55:37 Advice and encouragement for single mothers


True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness by John Cuddeback 

Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx

Treatise on Law by Thomas Aquinas

Also on The Forum

Cultivating Friendship in the Classroom by Austin Hatch

On Friendship after Senior Year: Higher Stakes and Beautiful Opportunities with Dave Maxham

Friendship for the 21st Century Boy with Alvaro de Vicente 

On Home as Social Hub: The Importance of Hosting Our Sons and Their Friends with Tom Royals

About the Guest

John Cuddeback

Professor of Philosophy

I am a husband and father, a philosophy professor, a student of great thinkers, and a man on a search. I relish common sense and sanity, a down-home wisdom that others too regularly cast off.

Subscribe to The Heights Forum Newsletter

I'm interested in content for...
Select if you'd like to receive a monthly newsletter specifically for any of these educator roles.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.