False friends

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Young man with sad expression looking out a window.

People who may present themselves to us as friends might be misleading or false friends instead. (Photo by Demeter Attila @ pexels)

In verses 10 and 11 of his poem Gems of Wisdom, the Seventh Dalai Lama explained how people who may present themselves to us as friends might be misleading or false friends instead. It is helpful to reflect on the nature of these friendships and also to question if we might have occasionally been a false friend ourselves.

There are at least four kinds of false friends:

  1. Those who come empty-handed but leave with something. They:
    • visit us with the intention of taking our things
    • give us a little but expect to receive a lot in return
    • help us only when they’re in danger
    • associate with us only out of selfish motives
  2. Those who pay us lip service, and whose friendship is only skin-deep. They:
    • entertain us and waste our time by talking of the past
    • entertain us and waste our time by talking of the future
    • try to gain our favor by offering help when help isn’t needed
    • when we ask for help, they give excuses and don’t help
  3. Those who flatter us, seeming to care for us when they actually don’t. They:
    • encourage us to act negatively
    • discourage us from acting positively
    • praise us in our presence
    • criticize us behind our backs
  4. Those who lead to our ruin are people who:
    • are our companions in drinking or taking drugs
    • roam the streets with us when it’s late
    • accompany us to see unwholesome entertainment
    • go gambling with us

Points to reflect on:

  1. Have we had any of the above types of friends? How have our attitudes or behavior encouraged these types of friendships?
  2. Have we been that type of friend to others? What were the results for self and others? How can we avoid this in the future?

Find more on these topics: , ,