What Would Your Hands Do?
A friend is not necessarily someone to always smile at you and go with you to parties. A real friend should be able to help you in becoming a better person. A friend in need is a friend indeed. What is your need? To maintain your peace, your health and happiness. A friend should be a good aid to that. Often we may find it difficult to travel alone. The path is steep. It is always better to have somebody who can help you, who can hold you and see that you don’t slip. We should always look for such friends and, once we find them, we should never lose them.
A real friend will not hesitate to point out your mistakes. Those who do hesitate are just there to exploit you. You are a comfortable person for them to be around, and they can get something from that. So it is for their own benefit that they are keeping their friendship with you. They are afraid of losing it. A real friend will think of your benefit, not of his or her own. If need be, that friend will be ready even to give up his life for you.
In the Thirukkural, Sri Thiruvalluvar describes what friendship is. In South India, where he lived, the men wear dhotis. A dhoti is a long piece of cloth worn tied around the waist. Imagine that you are wearing a dhoti and you are speaking in front of a group of people; and, as you stand there, all of a sudden your dhoti slips. What would your hands do? Immediately they would catch it. They wouldn’t even wait for a second. That’s what you call friendship: the hands that would help you to hold your dhoti when it falls. A true friend will not hesitate even for an instant. Immediately he or she will jump in and do what is necessary to help.
When will you know if a person is really a friend or not? Only when you are facing some difficulty.