A friend in need, is a friend indeed. Friendship for most people is a combination of affection, loyalty, love, respect and trust. The general traits of friendship include: similar interests, mutual respect and attachment to each other, and in order to experience friendship, you need to have true friends. Friendship goes beyond paltry sharing of time together, and it is long lasting.
Value of True Friendship
This is why Aristotle once said that ‘close friends share salt’ In other words, true friends share life with each other, According to Dr. Lickerman, there are certain qualities that characterize a true friendship and that one should look out for in any true friendship, viz.:
1- True Friendship Involves Relationship:
How much do you know of your friend? Many people say, oh, he is a good friend of mine, yet they never consider to spend time with that ‘good friend’ Until you understand your friend then you cannot claim a true friendship.
2- Friendship Takes Times:
Time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories and time to invest in each other’s growth.
3- There Must Be Trust:
Trust is essential to a true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the ‘internet’ the next day or in ‘the market square.’ Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy friendship in a hurry.
4- Faithfulness and Loyalty:
These are keys to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts and no turning away. If you discover the above characteristics in a person, then you should know that you have found someone who is a true friend. Be a good friend to this person and you will enjoy a lasting friendship together. For as St. Thomas Aquinas will say, ‘there is nothing on this earth to be prized more than a true friend’
This implies that a true friend cannot be quantified. The faithful friend is a secure refuge; whoever has found one has found a treasure. A faithful friend is a lifesaving remedy, and those who fear the Lord will find one (Sirach 6:15-16). SOME THINGS A TRUE FRIEND WOULD NEVER DO
a- Criticize You for Being Flawed in Public:
A true friend will never criticize you or join others to ridicule in public. This happens mostly in classrooms, watch it. A true friend will call you and point out your flaws to in love. And even in your flaws and weakness, a true friend still would love, accept and appreciate you just the way you are.
A true friend will never discourage you from doing what is right in order to improve on yourself. But unfortunately, some who seem like friends will try to hold you back from your full potentials. It may be difficult but, do not let this negative imposters bring you down.
Do not let your so-called friends turn your sky into a ceiling. Beware of friends who try to belittle your ambitions and goals.
c- Green Pasture Friends:
A true friend will never walk away from you when times get rough. It is not about who is standing beside you during good times but about the one who pole by you through tough and tussle times. So, take note of who remains in your life when times get tough, especially the people who sacrifice the resources they have in their life to help you improve yours when you needed it most. As Aristotle puts it, friendship of pleasure hedonistic friendship, avoid them.
d-Those Who Pretend to Love You:
Do not look for a friend who will solve all your problems; look for one who will face them with you. The one who will sit with you when you needed a moment to think. One who will lend you a shoulder when you needed to cry and one who does praise you in your presence but destroying you at your back.
e- Take from You Without Giving Back:
When you notice that a friend is always taking from you without giving back, you might need to distance yourself from that friend for a while. If he cares, he will notice; but if he does not, then you know where you stand.
However, this does not mean that you have to stop being friend with those you feel are at fault, but you need to evaluate your friendship and realize where to draw the line when you give yourself to certain people.
Finally, seminary life is a passing world. Do you have a friend? Who is your friend? Aristotle opines that there are three kinds of friendships.
Firstly, friendship of utility, where the affection is based on the benefits or use the friends derive from the friendship.
Secondly, the pleasant friendship where the affection is based on the pleasure that one gets out of the relationship.
Thirdly, the virtuous friendship where the affection is not based on self-interest, but on the pursuit of a common goal, the good life. For Asi Wudu, ‘bad friends are those who make you cry, good friends are those who understand why you are crying.
But best friends are those who do everything to stop you from crying.’ True friendship is a sweet responsibility to be nurtured, not an opportunity to be exploited. Hence, choose your friend.