Friendship is the thread that binds the fabric of humanity.

To have true friends you need to be a true friend.

A true friend:

– Won’t lie to protect your feelings, but speaks the truth lovingly and gently.

– Won’t judge whether what you’re feeling is right or wrong, instead encouraging you to discover your own truth.

– Will keep you from becoming your own worst enemy.

– Will celebrate your personal victories with the same excitement as they would their own.

– Will help you find your own path in life, even if it takes you in the opposite direction to theirs.

– Accepts you for who you are and doesn’t seek to change this.

– Forgives you, because they understand the bigger picture.

– Expects nothing from you, but wants everything for you.

– Is always there, even if you have forgotten them for a while.

It is said that a dog is a man’s best friend. I didn’t really understand this until experiencing it. We have two dogs, Wilbur and Skye. Every time any of our family returns from being out of the house, we are greeted with a delightfully warm dog welcome.

By contrast, strangers can appear cold. Though let’s not forget William Butler Yeats claim that strangers are simply friends that have not yet met. True friends are warm. Warmth is more powerful than force. One of Aesop’s fables recounts a contest between the strong winds and the warm sun – each arguing that they were more powerful than the other. They decided that the victor would be determined by the one who could persuade a passing stranger to take off his coat. The harder the wind blew the more the man clung to his jacket. All the sun had to do was suddenly shine with all its warmth. Warmth works wonders.

Friends are warm.

Consider being WARM as a reminder to be:

Welcoming – When we see our friends we instinctively make them feel welcome with a smile and a warm greeting. Friends don’t need to make appointments. Indeed, we can be even more welcoming of a surprise visit.

Authentic – Friends are free to be themselves. And friends allow us to be ourselves.

Reliable – Friendship requires effort. We may not always be in the mood to spend time with our friends, or to help them, but we do it anyway. Friends are reliably there for each other. Time is no barrier to friendship. No matter how much time has passed when we meet up with old friends, it feels like time falls away and we reignite with that part of us that liked each other from the start.

Mutually Respectful – There is no friendship without mutual respect. In a balanced relationship, each friend respects the other for who they are.

To be a true friend is the greatest gift you can give and receive.

Pebbles of Perception, How a Few Good Choices make All the Difference, explores the nature of a life well lived. The book is an invitation to be curious, build character and to make better choices. Above is a brief extract from Chapter Thirteen: Be a True Friend.