We have all heard of the term – fair weather friends. From time immemorial it has been known that one is surrounded by scores of friends in good times while very few people are willing to stand by and help a person in bad times. Nothing could be more true than the adage – a friend in need is a friend indeed. Ninety percent of a man’s friends desert him like rats deserting a sinking ship in his hour of need. A man with a large number of true friends is indeed a lucky man.
What is the nature of true friendship like? It is not possible to be a true friend to everyone. We can be a true friend only to those of our acquaintances in whom we see some quality that we genuinely respect. Otherwise we do not feel the inclination to be a true friend to a person. True friendship is born out of mutual respect and is reciprocal in nature. When we go out of our way to be a true friend and help someone in his hour of need we know it for a fact that if the roles were reversed things would have been reciprocated.
Having said that about the nature of true friendship let us examine how one can be a true friend. There are several ways of being a true friend. Some of the most common ways of showing friendship are by providing monetary assistance to a friend in his or her hour of need at some cost to oneself, sacrificing things close to one’s heart for the well being and happiness of a friend, to stick to a friend’s side and fight for him in the face of opposition from near and dear ones, to take up a friend’s cause and so on.
Most important of all, while proferring advice to a friend be brutally honest. Tell it like it is without mincing any words. Honest friends are those who would bring home the true facts surrounding a situation no matter how hard it is to hear. If one is a true friend he or she would never give the kind of advice a person wants to hear just in order to feel placated. Whatever advice is prof-erred would be directed towards the person’s well being and in pointing him or her in the right direction. Hearing honest advice and accepting it is hard but if your friendship is valued it will be taken in the right spirit.
Everyone has heard of the ancient Greek story of friendship between Damon and Pythias. In that story the king is so moved by the friendship between Damon and Pythias that in the end he decides to spare the lives of both friends. The nature of true friendship is like that. It is beneficial all round. True friendship also helps in social well being. Just think of a society in which all friends are true to each other. It would promote peaceful mutual co-existence and keep the society healthy and happy. So friendship is an essential component of national well being too.