‘Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything’ Muhammad Ali.

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. Friends are one of life’s greatest gifts. Friendship nourishes the heart and gives a feeling of richness and connection that money cannot buy. Friendship plays a major part in our wellbeing. It feeds our soul. A happy heart makes for a happy life and a happy soul will easily connect with his or her life purpose.

One of the most amazing aspects of friendship is the feeling of being understood and the understanding we gain which gives meaning and strength to our lives, particularly in the tougher times.

“Best friends are the people who bring out the best in us”

Problems always come when we feel separate, or alone or not part of. This gives space for doubt, suspicion, loneliness and isolation. Sometimes circumstances happen and our trust with friends breaks. This happens to everyone, and it hurts. But it important to learn from these situations and never to close our heart to other friendships. Just because you get food-poisoning does not stop you eating. Rather it makes you more discerning in relation to what you consume. Best friends are the people who bring out the best in us. Spend time with people that bring out the best you. Bring out the best in others. Sometimes that means helping people see their weaknesses and sometimes that involves you being shown yours.

It is not always easy to see things in our own lives. It is wonderful to have friends that can help us see how we can be and do better. Because they want us to be our best, they will tell us what we need to hear – not just what we want or like to hear. Fun is a big part of friendship and one of the greatest joys we have, with old friends in particular, is the ability to be silly with one another. As the heart enjoys the food of friendship, it opens us up to all the wonderful things life and the world has to offer. Friendship also trains us to be compassionate with others and ourselves. To be a good friend to others, we must first be a good friend to ourselves.

What is a good friend?

We often have ideas of what friends should and should not do. What does it mean to be a good friend to others and what does it mean to have good friends? It is good to reflect on this for yourself and how you are as a friend to others. Friendship is more about being first. Being a friend, guides us regarding what to do in a situation. Friends are there in times of trouble. Are we there for others in their dark times? It is a busy world these days and we all lead busy lives. Being a friend sometimes means being there for others when we have other plans. Friendship is not always a balanced equation. There is give and take at different times.

Sometimes geography or circumstances and events appear to separate us from friends. But even if we don’t see or connect with them, it is important to always honour what was shared. Sometimes all that seperates us is ego and then we need to reflect more when this happens. Friends accept us for who we are and give us the freedom to be ourselves. This is mutual.

Take time this week, to reflect on how you are with friends and friendship. If you feel you need to make changes do. You will be very enriched by the results.