What did the Buddha say about friends?
In one lesson (DN31, unpublished translation by Kelly, Sawyer & Yareham), the Buddha outlines what to look out for in a false friend, and what actions would make you a false friend to others. I’ll be looking at these factors more closely and then at the other side – the characteristics of a valuable friend.
[Quoting from the Buddha]
Young man, be aware of these four enemies disguised as friends: the taker, the talker, the flatterer, and the reckless companion.
The taker can be identified by four things: by only taking, asking for a lot while giving little, performing duty out of fear, and offering service in order to gain something.
The talker can be identified by four things: by reminding of past generosity, promising future generosity, mouthing empty words of kindness, and protesting personal misfortune when called on to help.
The flatterer can be identified by four things: by supporting both bad and good behavior indiscriminately, praising you to your face, and putting you down behind your back.
The reckless companion can be identified by four things: by accompanying you in drinking, roaming around at night, partying, and gambling.
[end of quote]
Next up: the taker – are you one (sometimes)? Do any of your close friends fit this description?