The Importance of Friendship

Good friends are rare and far between. Be a good friend to get good friends!!

When you read ancient texts from any civilization, friendship is always an important focus in the stories handed down over generations. In India, we have many stories linked to friendship. Sudaama was Lord Krishna’s childhood friend. When the very poor Sudaama went to see his friend the king, he won Krishna’s heart with just four fistful measures of flat rice or poha. Karna has always been the epitome of friendship for he sacrificed family for loyalty. Akbar and Birbal were from different strata of society. One was a king and the other a mere courtier. Their interaction and the stories of Birbal getting the better of his Alampana are legendary. Their friendship broke all barriers of class and power.

In the modern world, we celebrate Friendship Day. We exchange friendship bands. Movies tell tales of extraordinary friends with iconic songs that are hummed all the time. Is it all a hype or is it really possible to sustain a good friendship for a lifetime?

Friends support you through tough times and celebrate your special moments with you. Friends may be in touch with each other on a daily basis—made easy with WhatsApp and Facebook, gadgets and connectivity. You may have lost daily contact and hardly see them for years. Yet, good friends just take off from where they left when they met the last time.

You may have steady friends who have been with you through school, college, work and retirement. Or you may have friends who came briefly into your life as neighbors or colleagues or people living in the city. Friends may make you laugh, may share your fun events or cry with you. True friends care a hoot about your looks, position, wealth or power. They just love you for who you are. They take pride in your achievements and pull you back from the brink when disaster is waiting for you to trip and fall.

Friendship is not easy. A friend may be obdurate, obstinate, drive you crazy or be super critical and yet have your best intentions at heart. Maintaining a friendship is hard work and you must keep at it all the time. It is a matter of adjustment, understanding, compromise and sacrifice.

Being a good friend requires just a few basic qualities and a sense of values. A friend is there:

  • To support you under any circumstances
  • To laugh, rejoice, celebrate, mourn and weep with you
  • To trust and be discreet
  • To show kindness and care
  • To help you when you are in need
  • To respect your opinions and feelings without being judgmental
  • To be good company and yet not drag you into depravity
  • To be loyal and dependable
  • To tell you the truth even if it is not something you want to hear
  • To brighten up your dull day and moods
  • To listen patiently to what you have to say
  • To be a safe port or haven when you are in distress—a phone call away.

Friends are an important part of your memories…of the good times and the bad times. Cherish your friends and be there for them as they will be for you!

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Padmini Natarajan calls herself Dame Quixote for she is forever tilting at windmills! A storyteller, poet, columnist, blogger, editor and journalist, she has specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. She has worked for over 15 years as Part-time Language Editor and Writer of manuals, curriculum textbooks and other material with an E-education organization, EZVidya/Chrysalis that is aimed at empowering Teachers, Students and Parents. She taught Vedic Heritage at Kalavardini to children from the ages of 3 to 14 and written and directed skits and plays. She won the Gourmand Special Jury Award in Paris in 2009 as co-author of ‘Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine’. Her book of short stories - ‘Crossroads: Stories from South Indian Lives’ - has good reviews on Amazon. Padmini has been concerned with paying it forward with her involvement in organizations like Sneha, a suicide prevention NGO, Canstop, Cancer Support group and many women’s organizations. Her other passion was acting, on stage, TV and screen. She is a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff, a music maniac who listens to Golden Oldies and has a strong Facebook presence. Nowadays she is an armchair activist and world traveler from the safety of her home. Quite the hypochondriac, she is exploring spiritual enlightenment through Vedanta and loves to spout philosophical thoughts to unwary audiences.