There is a saying “Chance makes brothers but hearts make friends”. For the growing teenager friends are more important than blood brothers or kith and kin. Friendship ties are strong and friendships of youth have the greatest bonds in later life. It is the friendship circle that makes you bloom, reinforces your good qualities and help you face life’s challenges.
Friendship offers great opportunities but carries also some risks. It is necessary to know who a true friend is and avoid the perils of unhealthy, exploitative or damaging friendships. According to the Bible he who has found a good friend has found a great treasure. Your friends may be few, but they must be true. Once you have a trustworthy friend grapple him to your heart with all your strength.
What are the hallmarks of a true friendship?
1. A friend accepts you as you are. He does not condemn you or judge you or force changes on you but allows you to be yourself , respecting your individuality. Hence you can be your true self before your friend without any pretense. He sees your defects but does not lose his esteem for you on that account. You don’t need to act before your friend and put on a show and disguise your true feelings. You never need to have any fear of rejection before your friend. He will let you be as you want to be. A friend gives you full freedom to be what you are.
2. A friend allows you to make your own decisions. He will explore with you the various options you have in a situation but he will leave the decision to you and not make your decisions.. But if he foresees that you are going to get into any problem because of your decision he will be frank with you without tying your hands. He does not force you to do things you don’t like .He will stand by you if your decisions land you in trouble. You don’t have to pay a price for your friendship. It is offered free. You can honestly differ from your friend and you can gracefully agree to disagree on issues. For example, if he enjoys seeing films but you enjoy reading books he will not force you to go with him to the cinema.
3. A friend is more interested in giving than receiving. There is no selfishness and calculation among true friends. He is not going to take advantage of you or exploit you. He is interested in you not in your things. But he also feels a certain freedom to use your things without any thoughts of selfishness or calculation. And he extends the same privilege to you.
4. A friend is always loyal and will stand by you in good times and bad. He will not abandon you or leave you alone when you are in trouble. Even if you do not follow his views he will not abandon you when you need help. He will stand up for you and defend you against your critics and enemies. His friendship comes to you without any strings attached. He will also share in your pain and suffering gladly. You have no fear of being alone anytime. He is always interested in protecting you and your interests.
5. A friend is always honest with you. He will tell you what he truly feels about you, about things. He will not mislead you. But he will tell you things gently , with consideration for your feelings so that you don’t feel hurt or threatened by the truths he says. What hurts you so much when said by an enemy can be said to you by a friend without causing you pain.
6. A friend is not jealous of you. You are never a rival to him. Your achievements and progress give him true joy and he feels as if they are his own. He will be happy to see you bloom to the full and he will do all that is in his power to help you realize your dreams. He is genuinely happy if you can surpass him in any achievement. We find such an example of unselfish friendship in the lives young David and Jonathan. Jonathan the prince was ready to give up his throne to his friend David rather lose his friendship.
7. A friend is not possessive. He does not consider you his monopoly and grab you for himself. You don’t have to give up your other friends because of him. He is happy to be with you but that does not mean he insists you should be with him all the time. He does not feel uneasy because you show affection and love to others also. A possessive friend will stifle your personality and prevent your full maturing. A possessive friend is an insecure person and he is a parasite who will suck the sap from you. .Always retain your freedom in friendship. It can happen that good friends who were friends for very long time can break up for good reasons . In such a case no one needs to blame the other or feel guilty though each one will feel the loss keenly. This will help you to grow up and make you a tough person..
8. A friend is ready to forgive and make allowances. It often happens that friends do quarrel now and then or hurt each other because of human weakness but they forgive and make up easily. You don’t have to be a superhuman who makes no mistakes at all to be good friends.
9. A friend shares everything with you. He is your other self. He has no secrets from you. He shares information, things, food, dreams etc. He will keep from you only what he has received in strict confidence from someone else.
10. A friend keeps confidences. You can depend on him not to betray you so that you can entrust to him all your secrets. But you must first test your friend that he is truly trustworthy. It is a great risk to share confidences with someone you are not absolutely sure of. If your confidences are betrayed you can be hurt for life and suffer crippling consequences. A betrayed confidence can mar your serenity for life.
11. You bloom in the sunshine of friendship. A friend sees hidden talents in you and encourages you to unfold your personality. He sees in you possibilities no one else can see. It is not only true that behind every successful man there is a woman, it is equally true that behind every successful person there is a committed friend. He encourages you, leads you on and urges you into ventures you would hesitate to undertake. He is your pillar of strength.
Let me ask myself
1. Do I expect my friends to agree with me always?
2. Am I able to keep my friends? If not, what could be the cause of my failure?