Role of friends in your life
Q/A with Sirshree
How to find a true Friend? Whom to befriend and whom not to?
Seeker: I spend a lot of time with my friends. My family opposes it, saying that I’m wasting my time with them and they are not good for my future. What should I do?
Sirshree: Your choice of friends reveals your character. There is a quote which reads: “Tell me the names of your friends, and I will tell you your character.” It is said so because you tend to make friends with those who are similar to you. If you like to stay in ignorance, you will befriend those who speak in ignorance.
“Birds of a feather flock together.” Such proverbs make people stop and ponder. Now stop for a minute and think of what your friends convey about you. If someone were to go and meet your friends, thereafter what kind of an opinion will he form about you? If you feel that he will form a negative opinion, it means that it is time to change your friends.
If an unwise and egoistic person were to choose his friends, he will choose those who are less knowledgeable than him, because he feels comfortable and superior in their company. We feel superior among people who are less knowledgeable than us and inferior among those who are more knowledgeable and wiser than us.
To empower your character, choose the company of people who have a strong character and good qualities. Only by doing so, you can start working on your character. Looking at the systematic work and the qualities of an intelligent and progressive person, the weak ones start feeling that they must overcome their weak points and develop their qualities.
Seeker: How to find a true friend? I am a bit confused Sirshree as to whom to befriend and whom not to?
Sirshree: True friends are those that together walk the path of Truth. Radiance is added to your character by treading the path of Truth. A true friend is the one who restrains his friend from wrong deeds, shows him his demerits, and inspires him to tread the path of Truth. Only in the company of such friends can you rightly build your character. Else, among false friends, you will lose the priceless treasure of your character.
Even if one among your friends has new and limitless thinking, you gain by his thoughts. If, in a group, this person talks about integrity or some new creations, the others immediately begin to think on those lines.
To achieve your goal, take help from only those people who have the same goal as you. While climbing up a mountain, join hands with those climbing up and not with those going down. Because the one going up will also pull you along towards the top. The one going down will pull you downwards. If you want to become a doctor, staying in the company of doctors will help you in achieving your goal. Staying with engineers or teachers will not help your goal. Similarly, if you want to build your character and work on strengthening your foundation, stay in the company of those who have a strong foundation and have already worked on their character.
Befriend those who are at least two steps ahead of you or equal to you in qualities (and not in wealth). By maintaining friendship with such persons, your possibility of building a virtuous character opens up, because they know the importance of becoming virtuous. Thus, both of you can build a virtuous character and lead a happy life. If your friend is already a virtuous person, it is very good for you because by staying in his company, you too can speedily build your character.
By staying in bad company, you too start imbibing their bad qualities. Man loses control over himself in bad company and indulges in things that degrade his character day by day. Thus the saying goes: “Don’t drink milk sitting under a toddy palm tree.” A toddy palm tree produces toddy, a type of liquor, which looks like milk. Sitting under such a tree, even if you just drink milk, people will assume that you are drinking toddy. More importantly, where will your attention be? Definitely, on the toddy tree. You start thinking about what you see. You start speaking of what you think. Sooner or later, you start doing what you speak. And bad deeds reap failure and misery. Therefore, enhance your maturity and avoid bad company.