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That spiritual friend knocked at my door last night.
“Who is it?” I asked. He answered, “Open the door. It is you!”
“How can I be You?” I asked. He answered, “We are one,
but the veil has hidden us in duality.”
We and I, he and you, have become the veil,
And how well this has veiled you from yourself!
If you wish to know how we and he and all are one,
Pass beyond this ‘I’, this ‘we’, this ‘you’.

- Muhammad Shirin Maghribi, 14th-century Persian Sufi -

“According to Aristotle, a true friend is one who not only likes us for who we are but also one who wants what is good for us. Friendship is a relationship of reciprocal goodwill in which each party likes the other party for the other person’s sake, always wanting what is good for the other.” -  Alireza Nurbakhsh Ph.D.

Someone has said, “A friend is a person who is willing to take me the way I am.” Accepting this as one definition of the word, may I quickly suggest that we are something less than a real friend if we leave a person the same way we find him.
There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of some men today as to what it means to be a friend. Acts of a friend should result in self-improvement, better attitudes, self-reliance, comfort, consolation, self-respect, and better welfare. Certainly the word friend is misused if it is identified with a person who contributes to our delinquency, misery, and heartaches. When we make a man feel he is wanted, his whole attitude changes. Our friendship will be recognizable if our actions and attitudes result in improvement and independence.

It takes courage to be a real friend. Some of us endanger the valued classification of friend because of our unwillingness to be one under all circumstances. Fear can deprive us of friendship. Some of us identify our closest friends as those with the courage to remain and share themselves with us under all circumstances. A friend is a person who will suggest and render the best for us regardless of the immediate consequences.- Marvin J. Ashton

In a Facebook survey, Tina Buddha founder Lori Deschene compiled the following responses based on this question: “What does it mean to be a true friend?”

1. Always be there, even in silence. (Nerrisa Nam)
2. Be kind and listen. Be fun and light. Be serious when needed, love extensively, and forgive always. (Sandra Lumb)
3. Don’t be scared to tell each other the truth, no matter how difficult it may be. (Eva Valencia)
4. Guide each other in times of need with your honest opinions. (Ashna Singh)
5. A true friend is someone who always listens and is genuinely interested in the good and bad, and someone who calls or writes just to say hello. (Kimberly McCarthy)
6. Be loyal in confidence and character, always open and inviting to share concerns, always honest even if you disagree. (Peggy Turner Beatty)
7. A true friend tries his best to cheer you up when you are upset and makes you feel special. (Kalpana Tewani)
8. Try and improve their life though your friendship. (Barry Cassidy)
9. Be who you truly are, be that vulnerable, and provide the other person the space, safety and choice to do the same. (Cynthia Ruprecht Hunt)
10. Be genuinely happy when they get, receive, or achieve something you truly desire. (Heather Tucker)
11. Share the truth in your heart, without the fear of misunderstandings. (Ricardo Marques)
12. Be loyal and forgive but above all: love and respect. (Casey Jo Wagner)
13. Accept the person as they are, as an individual, without conditions. Also, as important as it is for you to be there for them, sometimes you have to be willing to let them be there for you. (Casey Kimes)
14. Remain friends despite a person’s choices in life and don’t bail on them when they aren’t who you want them to be. (Kim Shaw)
15. A true friend always supports the person but doesn’t feel compelled to support the situation. A true friend knows how and when to say the firm, “No.” (Leslie Mollay)
16. Help yourself and those closest to you grow. To live means to grow, and a true friend is someone that you can honestly say has helped define you as an individual. (Kevin Ball)
17. Celebrate the wins and be there to support the losses. Keep your word and acknowledge it when you don’t. (Margalit Ward)
18. Walk in to a friend’s aid when others are walking out. (Larry Stilts)
19. Don’t hold grudges over petty disagreements. (Annika de Korte)
20. Show up! You can pretend to care but you cannot pretend to show up. (Sherri Levy)
21. A true friend is someone you feel as comfortable with as you do when you are by yourself. No illusions, no holding back. (Liz McConomy)
22. Be there for the other person in the same way you would be there for yourself. Granted, if you can’t be there for yourself, that’s probably something you should address first. (Elizabeth McDaniels)
23. Don’t let your own stuff get in the way. The ego is powerful. (Sabrina Toffey)
24. Know someone’s least admirable characteristics and still love and support them. (Talia Startsman)
25. Share honest appreciation every chance you get. (Lori Deschene)

I uphold all of these things and have tried to live by them except for # 23 which I believe anyone can fail at some time in their lives. I do not offer it as an excuse or an apology because I recently lost a friend who broke more than one of the premises listed above.

One of the most difficult things to acknowledge are  the words, “Today I lost a friend.” It doesn’t matter if you broke the friendship or if the other person broke the friendship. Broken happens for a reason but it still takes its toll.