Asher Shla'in

Being a Good Friend: What does it involve?

Friendship is explored not so much in terms of intensity or range, but rather as to the nature of communication in times of need. Then, real caring may conflict with pleasing - or with teaching a lesson. Motives, priorities and interests are to be discussed, seeking practical wisdom, working with realistic examples.

Ways of support, criticism, advice, assistance. The role of compassion. The gifts of poise and integrity. Parallels in education and family relations.

Points for Discussion

(1)         Friendship is not only a relationship but also a skill.

(2)         My best friend is not necessarily the one who pleases me most, but the one who helps me to grow.

(3)         Assertiveness needs to be combined with humility.

(4)         Friendship does not make Honor disposable

(5)         Friendship cannot exist without a measure of equality.

(6)         A good laugh, even at one's own expense, is sweet among friends.

(7)         The test: "A friend in need is a friend indeed".

(8)         Not every support is beneficial.

(9)         "Love without rebuke is no love" (Rabbi Yose bar Hanania, Breshit Raba).

(10)   Sometimes listening is better that instructing.

(11)   Criticism vs. consolation - what is the right measure of each?

(12)   Some relationships are likened to knots as in "ties".

(13)   Friendship is forged best in working together.

(14)   Being "Comrade in arms" - a meaningful type of friendship.

(15)   A true friend is one I can trust.

(16)   One should not distort the truth, unless for a powerful reason.

(17)   Even with a good friend, timing of response should be considered.

(18)   "Rabbi Shim'on son of El'azar says: Don't appease your friend while he is angry, don't comfort him while his dead is still lying before him, don't question him while he is taking a vow, and make no attempt to see him in his disgrace" (Avoth D).

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