Finding Friends


I don’t have friends and whatever friendships I had some got broken due to arguments and people didn’t wanted to be friends anymore or other times people got toxic for my mental health. Not having anyone in my life as a friend irritates me and I feel low most of the times. I don’t understand what god wants me to learn ? I need clarity & help on how I can have good relationships in my life ?

—Prachi, India


Dear Prachi,

True friendship is one of the greatest gifts of human life. As such, it is not easily won. Most friendships are born of mere circumstances, mutual convenience, and shared interests and therefore, being conditional, last only as long as the circumstances which created them. If one considers marriage a form of friendship, we see how fragile marriage is in modern life and how, throughout history, marriage becomes merely a habit and all too often an unhappy one.

What I am saying is that what you seek is a rare flower in the garden of life. To attract true friendship, we — ourselves — must first be noble, selfless, and above all, loyal. Our teacher, Swami Kriyananda, inspired and instructed by Paramhansa Yogananda (author of the world-famous story, Autobiography of a Yogi) said, “To attract a friend, be a friend.” To attract friendliness, be friendly. Or as is commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you seek.”

A reply to your note warrants a scripture or at least a book or a lecture but a few words must suffice. God in the form of the true guru is the greatest friend the soul can ever have. But that’s another conversation. For now, have the courage and inspiration to be friendly to those around you. Not in a fawning sycophant way, but with a genuine interest in their needs, comfort, and well-being. Be willing to give of yourself and be generous with your time, energy, and material goods. Do so with no thought of recognition or reward. Be a friend first rather than as a condition of someone else extending their interest in you! To do so takes courage, I grant you. It’s scary because we can so easily be misunderstood, rejected or taken advantage of. It will take repeated efforts and sustained practice. Be sincere in your friendliness. In your practice remove from your expectation the thought of a long-term friendship. Practice friendliness for the simple value and reward of being a friendly person. Never mind the future potential of any particular friendship. Be, therefore, non-attached.

Our greatest friends are those from the past: past lives. We recognize such a friend by the calm comfort and ease with which we converse and share with them. It is our friendship magnetism that draws to us (silently and invisibly) our true friends. Friendship is corroded by familiarity, gossip, moods, and fickleness. Friendship is loyal to the friend’s highest, soul aspirations and not to his selfish or self-indulgent habits or negative emotions. A friend is loyal even if the other, in a mood, disagreement, or in a fit of anger, spurns your friendship for a time. Friendship is based on practical, mutual service to one another. To misquote Forrest, Forrest Gump from the movie of the same name: “Friendship is as friendship does.”

Be a friend to all. See in everyone their highest potential as you strive in yourself to be your own best friend seeking your own highest. Include in your life the daily practice of prayer and meditation, self-sacrifice, and service to God in the form of others.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Hriman