What’s True Friendship? Asking for a Friend

(Photo above by Allan Mas / Pexels)

We can’t choose our family but we can choose our friends, so it’s an important choice.

Let’s talk about friendship, the ups, the downs and everything in between. There are all types of friendships… some last forever and others, a moment. But either way, having someone in your life who you can share anything with and that celebrates your victories is major.

Having just one good friend doubles one’s happiness in life.

Daisaku Ikeda

Especially right now when we’re in a pandemic, we may wonder how can we maintain, let alone deepen our friendships?

Here are some indicators of how to create true friendships.

It may seem obvious but creating friendships that have honest and open communication start with us. In a discussion on friendship, the Buddhist teacher Daisaku Ikeda had this to say:

True friendship implies a relationship where you empathize with your friends when they’re suffering and encourage them not to lose heart, and where they, in turn, empathize with you when you’re in the same boat and try to cheer you up.

Discussions on Youth, p. 47

two girls wearing masks while hanging out in the park

Photo by Andrea Rio / Unsplash

True friendship isn’t just about liking the same things or having similar personalities. It’s deeper than that. The question really to ask ourselves is, Am I helping my friend believe in themself and pursue their dreams?

True friendship is not a relationship of dependence but of independence.

- Daisaku Ikeda

If you feel like you don’t have that type of friendship right now, that’s OK. When you make efforts to be a good friend yourself, naturally you’ll find friends who will support your growth.

We’ll leave you with this from Ikeda on how to be genuine in our friendships:

I think that those who have suffered truly devastating blows or lived through great tragedy can deeply appreciate the profundity of life and the beauty of genuine friendship. People of conviction, who stand alone, who pursue their chosen path are not only good and trustworthy friends themselves, but can make genuine friends of others. The bamboo groves of autumn are gorgeous. In the same way, true friendship is not a relationship of dependence but of independence. It is the enduring bond that connects self-reliant individuals, comrades who share the same commitment, on a spiritual dimension.

Discussions on Youth, pp. 45-46

This is what true friendship means.

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