Man is a social animal, with a constant need for relating to people. And while we relate to people at various levels, and we exist in various relationships, friendship is one relation which has the potential to give tremendous pleasure. Unlike other relationship, we need to understand that friendship comes with no obligation, no guarantee, no dos and don’ts, no rules and regulations, no laws or customs, rights and duties. Friendship is a voluntary connecting of two people, who decide that they like each other, who can understand and vibe with each other, who love to talk and interact with each other, who love each other’s company, who can rely on each other for fun, as well as for support and help when required. Among all our relationships, friendship offers us the maximum benefits and also the maximum freedom. Friendship can be a great source of joy and fulfilment, and as Khalil Gibran says, in the sweetness of friendship, there should be laughter and the sharing of good things. A brief conversation with a friend, a sharing of good and bad things can be so uplifting and refreshing, like the early morning dew drop. You can be away from your friend for years, may be far away in distance, but all that can disappear in an instant when you meet.
Friendship is freedom, and as long as you don’t bring in duties and obligations and expectation into friendship, it will be a great relationship. The moment you bring in ‘should do’ and ‘should not do’ and ‘could do’ and ‘could not do’, the moment you start taking your friends for granted, the moment you become demanding in your friendship, the moment you become arrogant or superior in your friendship, the moment you try and push down your friend, the moment you try and be patronizing, is the moment when friendship turns sour, leaving a very bad taste in the mouth. A good friendship needs truth without being brash, needs kindness, sympathy, empathy, tolerance, patience, honesty, love, gratitude, support, not taking for granted, willingness to give more than to take, no expectations, an open heart, and a readiness to help, and a willingness to go out on a limb for your friend, even if it means antagonizing a whole lot of people.
In friendship, as in love, the ego has to die, or eventually, the friendship will die. There can only be one entity that survives. If the ego survives, friendship will go, if the ego dies, friendship will triumph. The benefit of friendship is only the beautiful time spent together, the memories of good times, the advice shared, the physical, emotional or financial support given or taken, and a deep down feeling of happiness, joy and satisfaction, which warms the cockles of the heart. If you have such a friend or are such a friend, you are lucky. Or else, it is never too late to start now, this very moment.