It is not easy to make friends. Real friends are rare in this world. Man is a social animal and instinctively seeks companions. We come across countless people but with everybody we do not make friends. The essential condition of friendship between two persons is affinity of mind, tastes, temperaments or pursuits.
We can make friends if we love people, if we are good and sincere to them and if we share their joys and sorrows. We are to make friends if we do to others as we would be done by. Friendship is a matter of give and take.
There cannot be all the 'give' on one side and all the 'take' on the other. Equal sacrifice on both sides is a pre-requisite of friendship. True friendship is possible only between two equals in age, similar in thoughts, views and achievements. An old man seeks the company of an old man, and a student that of a student, a fat man that of a fat man and a pious man that of a pious man.
We can make friends if we are ready with our sympathy for others in their times of trouble. Adversity is the touchstone of friendship. Two friends are like one soul living in two bodies.
Friends made at school are life-long friends. They bring to us memories of those early days when life was young and free from all cares and worries. The friendship of Krishna and Sudama is a classical example of true friendship in our country.
Sudama is a poor Brahman yet when he goes to his old school friend Krishna, the latter hugs him to his bosom though he is then king and the idol of his people. Without telling him, he converts his poor life into a rich one.
If we think more of virtues than of shortcomings of other people. If we are open, plain and frank, we make friends who are sure to stand by us through thick and thin. We should exercise a good deal of self- control and sweet reasonableness in dealing with others, always trying to avoid misunderstanding and displaying a spirit of 'forgive and forget' if we want to gain friends.
We should not be soft-spoken flatterers who say what will give pleasure only, irrespective of whether it is true or false. We must speak out the simple truth, however unpalatable it may be, if it is for the good of others. We should always be sincere well-wishers of others, never sweet- mouthed sycophants.
To attract friends, we must ourselves be attractive. We should have a trustful nature. Trust alone begets trust. We should open our heart to a friend, holding back nothing. Secrecy is the poison that always destroys lasting friendship and so we must have no secret from a real friend.
We must be tolerant and forbearing. No man is all good. If we are always fault-finding, it will produce a feeling of natural irritation. This leads to estrangement. It is only when friendship is tested by the trials of life that faults may be pointed out without creating ill-will.
We must cultivate a spirit of harmony and proportion. We must not be too exacting. Having won a friend, we must nurture friendship with love and affection, we must constantly tend it with acts of kindness. Our aim must be to serve more than to exact, to give more than to receive. What is given must be without reserve, what is received must be recognized as a privilege.
A true friend is an unmixed blessing. He sweetens our life, heightens our joys and lightens our sorrow. Even death cannot separate such a friend from us. Friendship is like the sweet scent of the flowers of different colours and odours in a beautifully decorated vase.
It is a divine spark motivating our noble actions. It is a sweet song of a cuckoo, filling our hearts with joy and happiness. It is like a lighted match in a dark room.