You know you’ve found a true friend when…
We all have many friends. Actually, we may have more friends than we can even remember. The phone books in our cell phones are filled with contacts. A few simple clicks on social media websites can instantly make us more friends. It seems that making a new friend is relatively easy these days.
In fact, a recent study by the Nielsen research company found that youths aged 13–24 have an average of 508 friends! Just imagine how difficult it would be to remember all of their birthdays!
We spontaneously make friends with those who share mutual interests with us. Common activities with friends usually include going out to eat, taking the same courses in college, playing video games together, playing sports together, or just spending time together.
Having more friends certainly makes doing our daily activities easier and more enjoyable. At the same time, it is important to identify our ‘true friends.’
The qualities of a true friend are clearly depicted in the following story.
Two friends, a prince, and the minister’s son were out hunting in the forest. Both were hungry and exhausted after a long day of traveling. They found a cool shade under a tree and sat down to rest. The prince fell asleep while the minister’s son stayed awake to keep guard.
Soon after, a snake slithered towards the prince. It was ready to strike at the prince. However, the minister’s son was quick. He raised his dagger at the snake and was about to kill the snake. Just then, the snake spoke up, “This prince was my enemy in my past life. I cannot rest until I drink blood from his neck. Either in this birth or next, I have to take revenge.”
The minister’s son wanted to save his friend’s life. So he told the snake, “If you bite the prince, the poison in your mouth will definitely kill him. If all you want is his blood, I can give that to you. If I give you some of his blood to drink, will that satisfy you?”
The snake agreed and waited. The minister’s son found a few dry leaves and made a small cup. He climbed upon the chest of the prince, who was still fast asleep. He pulled out his dagger and made a small slit on the side of the prince’s neck. The sharp cut suddenly awakened the prince.
But on seeing his friend, the prince closed his eyes and went back to sleep. The minister’s son filled the small cup with enough blood and offered it to the snake. The snake drank the blood and slithered away.
The minister’s son quickly collected some medicinal herbs and bandaged the wound. After a few hours, the prince awoke and they resumed their journey. The prince did not say anything and behaved as if nothing had happened. Two days passed in the forests, yet the prince never discussed this incident with his friend.
The minister’s son began to grow impatient. He finally asked, “A couple of days ago, I climbed on your chest, slit your throat, drew blood, and then bandaged you. You even woke up and saw me do this. It has been two days and I am curious to know why you still haven’t questioned me or asked me for an explanation.”
The prince replied, “If someone else had attempted this, I would have been suspicious — does he want to kill me or rob me? But, you are my true friend. I know that whatever you have done must have been for my good. That is why I need no explanation.”
This short tale gives us great insight into the characteristics of a true friend.
Even if we are not aware, a true friend is always acting in our best interest.
Now let’s ask ourselves a few questions. Of the many friends that I have, how many can be considered true friends? Instead of simply passing time together, do they actually motivate me to reach my goals in life? Will they always act in my best interest even if I do not like it?
It turns out that humans are not the only creatures that make friends. The friendship between different species of animals is also prevalent. For example, a type of small bird called an oxpecker has a strong friendship with large rhinos.
The rhino allows the bird to sit on its back and eat the small insects that it finds there. This feeds the bird and cleans the rhino. Moreover, the bird watches for danger and alerts the rhino of any predators by making loud chirping noises. It seems that animals also understand the concept of making the right friend!
You know you’ve found a true friend when…
He helps you filter good and bad choices. You have to make many decisions every day. If you stray from good, your friend shows you your mistakes and guides you back to morality.
He urges you to stay positive. If you dwell on the past for too long, he reminds you to keep moving forward, discover new paths, and focus on your future.
He keeps you humble. While he celebrates your accomplishments with you, he keeps your ego in check and reminds you of your roots.
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