Levin was deep-thinking; Stiva was shallow. It is hard to believe there was long lasting friendship between these two. Exactly What qualities in Oblonsky kept this friendship alive?

Levin constantly chided Stiva for his bad husbandry, but if Oblonsky was as shrewd as Levin wished him to be, would Livin have liked him?

Was not Stiva's silliness or the lack of guile exactly the kind of quality that Levin found most appealing in a friend?

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    I'm downvoting this question for the reasons discussed in the meta question Thoughts on “why didn't character x act rationally” questions?. Is there a way to reword this question? – user111 May 20 '17 at 19:33
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    This may be pedantic, but the term "husbandry" doesn't mean what you think it means. You'd have to say chided Stiva for being a bad husband, or something along those lines. I disgaree with Hamlet, though - I think this is a question about the author's intentions. – Josh Friedlander May 21 '17 at 14:37
  • See "Did you count the trees?" books.google.com/… – George Chen May 21 '17 at 15:20
  • @hamlet: is there a way to convince an imbecile? As the bard prescribed, let those nature hath not made for store; harsh featureless and rude barrenly perish. – George Chen Nov 27 '17 at 17:10

Oblonsky is presented as a person who is everybody's friend. He's not an especially good person, though. He cheats on his wife. He makes a poor deal selling his land. He's not particularly good at his job. The reason he survives is because everyone likes him, but he's not sharp enough (or ruthless enough) to use this likability to his advantage. You probably know someone like him.

Levin, on the other hand, doesn't have many friends. He prefers his farm to the city. He tends to focus on his own affairs, meaning he takes little interest in the affairs of others. He doesn't like small talk. Oblonsky is happy to talk to him, where few others will tolerate him.

In other words, Levin has few friends, while Oblonsky has many. The relationship is asymmetric, but it works because Levin has no one else to turn to. Oblonsky could be smarter, more sober, or better at business, but as long as he's friendly, Levin will be his friend.

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