- Qualities of a good friend.
Good friends are rare in this world. We have several acquaintances but a few friends. This is so because real friendship is a complex thing made up of several things. It is rarely that we get such a combination of things in human beings.
What, then, are the qualities of a good friend? Firstly, a friend should be a genuine lover of our self. That is to say a good friend should love us for our own sake. There are miany who love us for our money or our position in life. A disinterested friend is rare. And only friends who love us for ourselves can be good to us.
But it is not enough to love. Love is blind. For example, many parents spoil their children by blindly loving them. So also a friend . who loves us may spoil us. Therefore, secondly a friend must be wise. He must be sensible, rational and experienced. He must be wiser than ourselves. Otherwise, what is the good of a friend, however loving, if he happens to be dull, stupid and unreasonable?
Thirdly, a good friend must be firm and fearless. That is to say, if we are in the wrong, if we are foolish, he must frankly tell us what we are. A good friend is not afraid of displeasing us when we go wrong. Flattery is no part of a good friend, False friends flatter us while true friends heal us and cure us of our follies, Curing is often unpleasant. Some medicines are bitter. But like a good doctor, a good friend is not afraid of giving active advice which may seem to be unpalatable. “A good friend will risk displeasure in giving timely reminders and sound advice in our follies. It is often found that sweet friends prove bitter in the end, and bitter friends prove sound at the end.
Fourthly, a good friend should be a friend in need and deed. “That is to say when we are in need of assistance, a good friend should come forward to help us concretely. There are many friends who talk and give advice which costs nothing; but when we ask for concrete help they avoid us. This is the test of friendship. We must get substantial service from our friends.
Considering these points we may say that our best friends usually, are our own parents and our teachers. At any rate, I have found my father to be my best friend. I know that many people do not agree with such a statement. They tell us that parents are tyrannical, dominating and self-willed. We are told that parents are interested in their own ideas of what their children should be. In other words, they do not understand the aspirations and tastes of their children. No doubt there are some parents of this type. They usually impose their will upon their children. They wish them to take up this line or that. They wish them to do this or that. They also wish them to marry this person or that. But such parents are few. It is often seen that parents intend well and wish well for their children. Nothing gives greater delight to parents than to see their children prosper and be happy in life.
I have found in my parents and teachers my very best friends. The former have given me my very life, and the latter have made it worth living. For, it is not enough to exist. Animals and plants do that. They exist, multiply and finally exit. They leave no trace behind, except their seeds and young ones. These continue to exist as their parents did. They repeat what they did. There is thus no purpose in their existance. Man alone among creatures does more than exist; he lives and shapes. his life to some ideals. It is this purposeful living which makes man different from the dumb creatures. And it is in shaping our lives that we find the worth of friends. I, therefore define a friend as one who helps to shape my life better. Judged by this definition. I find that my parents and teachers have been to me most helpful.
In a sense, I regard my teachers as even more important than my parents. I mean no disrespect to my parents when I say this. What I do mean is this: my teachers have made my life good and beautiful. They have taught me to read and appreciate great and good thoughts. By following their advice I have begun to see more beauty and goodness in life. I have thus learnt to respect life and to take more interest in it. If I were not so guided, I am afraid that I might have remained dull and dumb to all that is good and fair in life. To learn to live in this way is, I think, the greatest service that a teacher can do to pupils. I am, therefore, deeply grateful to my teachers who have thus become my best friends. To tell the truth, they are my spiritual parents. I am born anew to the beauty and goodness life with the help of my teachers.
It is difficult in this world to find a good friend. This is proved to be true when we consider the meaning of the saying which tells us that a friend in need is a friend indeed. This is no doubt a very good description of a friend. But it is often found to be a little uncertain. For example, a friend in need may not be a friend at all but simply a borrower. A great thinker has put this question. Whose need is it that is referred to in this saying? A friend in need may very well be a friend who is in need of help, and therefore he is no more or less than a borrower-a man in trouble. The true friend is, as we have said, one. who helps when we are in need. Hence I will conclude by stating that my best friend is my teacher because it is he who makes a man of me. I would have remained at the level of the animal eating, and :multiplying, if I were not taught those values which make us men. Therefore, I regard my teacher as my very best friend.