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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra


Updated: Feb 5

By B.E.Sampath Kumar, Sri Ramachandrji Seva Trust, Kadapa.

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection and love between people. In other words, it is familiar and liking of each other’s mind. It is not something we learn in school.   Man cannot live all alone. He is a social being. He needs someone to share his joys and sorrows.  

The strength of the bond of friendship between two people can vary. If the bond is very strong i.e., being kind, generous, loyal,  honest, etc., between the friends, they are called BEST FRIENDS. With these qualities, one can enjoy the bliss of friendship.

Friends are important to have because they support us when things get tough in life and are always there to love and help.   Friends will come and go in our lives.  A good friend is trustworthy to tell us the truth, even when it is hard for us to hear, makes us smile, and is there to listen and comforts us when we cry. Having good friends who stood first in difficult situations is really important.  A good friend admires a person’s skills and helps or encourages them to make the right choices and do not get into any trouble at all.  He does not confront when his friend did not accept and fails to follow his suggestions,  instead of respect and value his friend’s feelings. Love is not only meant for lovers.  It is also for friends who love each other better than lovers. A real friend is very hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget. 

The best friend is one who acknowledges the feelings of his friend but at the same time points towards a happier and healthier life. He is a person to whom we say the things that we cannot tell to our parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members.  So a best friend is the person whom we trust much and whom we can make our true secret helper.  He is one who never deceives us and walks in when the rest of the people walks out. The best friend does not just merely stand by silently when others are teasing us down,  no matter what consequences he may face in society. He is not only honest about himself, but he is also honest about us.

Age really does not matter when it comes to friendship. We can share our thoughts, open up our feelings with them which is the actual definition of friendship.  When friends with our same age group mess up our lives, older friends will advise on how to set it right. Younger friends will help us in understanding the present technology and the trend better.

A  recent Harvard study concluded that having solid friendships in our life even helps promote brain health.  Friends help us deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices that keep us strong, and rebound from health issues and disease more quickly.  One study even suggested spending time with positive friends actually changes our outlook for the better when we fall on hard times, friends are there to put things in perspective and help us.  When we have the success they smile at our good fortune.  

According to Aristotle, three types of friendships are there.  1) Friendship of utility, 2) Friendship of pleasure and 3) Friendship of the good.

Friendship of utility exists between people for mere necessities. They are together when they are happy and successful.  When things go wrong, they move on to the next happy successful person. This kind of friendship is focused on what one party can gain from another. Business partnerships, relationships among co-workers, and classmate connections are examples. A friendship that is based on utility does not last as long because of selfishness between the friends.

Friendship of pleasure exists between those who expect pleasure and enjoyment it brings from one another.  People love another for the pleasure they gain from them. Passionate love affairs and people associating with each other due to belonging to the same hobby organizations like Dancing, Badminton, Chess, Cricket, Tennis, Swimming, etc., fall into this category. This friendship does not flourish because when one party is no longer useful or pleasant to the other party,  their friendship ends.

Friendship of the good is based on mutual respect and admiration for each other’s qualities and a strong will to aid and assist the other person because one recognizes their greatness. . They often arise when two people recognize that they have similar values and goals, that they have similar visions for how the world(or at least their lives) should be. So the friendship based on goodness tends to be long-lasting.

In Mahabharat,  an Indian Epic, Lord Srikrishna regarded Arjuna as his Best Friend( Sakha) because Arjuna possessed all the qualities of  Divine nature i.e., Fearlessness, charity, self-control, austerity, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, renunciation, tranquility, compassion, modesty, vigor, forgiveness, freedom from envy and passion for honor, etc.,, as enumerated in Chapter 16 verses 1 to 3 of Bhagvat Gita. Arjuna’s love for all people,  his dedication to Dharma and Public welfare, and his great skills in Archery, devoid of conceit(proudness) especially endeared him to Krishna.  Arjuna was a pure devotee or Sakhya Bhakta of Lord  Krishna in the mood of a friend. Arjuna exhibited how to maintain close friendships throughout a lifetime with Lord Krishna. The word soulmates suit them both.

The first two types of friendship are easily broken.  These friendships are driven by one’s utility and pleasure.  In particular, when benefits are achieved or a change of common interest, these friendships will most probably fade off. However, friendships based on goodness are usually long-lasting.

Friendship is a gift given to you by your own behavior. One of the most beautiful qualities of real friendship is to understand and to be understood.  The qualities of a real friend are: who tries always make his friend smile, be courageous to stand by his friend in any situation, to be able to teach lessons of life if necessity comes, to question his friend when he is not righteous and who is having faith on his friend at all times. 

So while making friends, one has to come to the conclusion that it is based on goodness, similar values, common goals and the same interests in life., because friendship is the sweetest in creation and life’s greatest treasure. 

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