What man can say he has a true friend that would fight for him, that would keep his best interest at heart, that would raise him up with him when he is defeated? Someone that would truly demand higher standards from them? Someone that would honor their word to them as if their live depended on it. Someone that kept them humble, and grounded to reality. What man can say with confidence that should his life be at risk, should all his he is and has was in peril, he has in his friend a steadfast ally to come fight at his side without any expectation of recompense?
A true friend is one of the greatest treasures you’re ever going to find in this world. In time, you shall come to see that its value far exceeds money, fame, or pleasure. Understand; it exceeds all these things because it aids you in achieving all this and much, much more. Its value is only rivaled by its mythic rarity. Often times, we think we have such a treasure in our lives only to come and find that it was a cheap imitation. It is crucial to recognize the characteristics of a true friend because it’s one of the most important (and expensive) investments you’ll ever make in your life.
We must be very careful with the definition of a friend. That term is thrown around so loosely that people do not understand its true meaning. What we speak of is beyond what most people would call a friend these days. What most people have are aged acquaintances and low-level relationships that would quickly dissolve under any serious pressure. I have written before on how most men would be better off discarding such chains, but now we must examine what a true friend is, and is not.
The Real Ones
Ask anyone that has gained and lost any measure of success or popularity about what happens with the majority of their friends when they fall on hard times. When all of the sudden you’re not that perceived as that cool, successful guy anymore people left and right drop you like hot trash. Athletes, entrepreneurs, actors, artists, executives, even the popular kid in high school – they all attest to the same sad story.
Take for instance the successful businessman and his beautiful wife. Here is a man who has slaved away to provide her with countless luxuries; stately estates, luxury sedans, precious jewelry, and exotic trips to name a few. He is respected through many circles, with a great many powerful friends. Foolishly, he believes she loves him for him; he believes all his friends love him too. He comes upon a streak of bad luck, the markets crash, he loses all his assets, and now he can no longer provide her with the lifestyle that she has grown accustomed to. She quickly becomes a more temperamental, disagreeable, and generally unpleasant person. What once he thought was the perfect woman mutates into a vicious harpy. In a few months he comes to find that she is leaving him for his best friend because the “spark is gone” and he is “not the same man she fell in love with”. Of course, as he is forced to declare bankruptcy and foreclose his home while losing half his assets in a one-sided divorce, none of his alleged friends lift a finger in his aid.
Or how about the star athlete or actor who busted his ass to make it in the big leagues? He brings along 3 of his closest friends since middle school who become his inner circle. They serve as his agents, managers, whatever. He makes millions and they reap the benefits. His success is their success, after all. But then he gets caught in some scandal or another, and his stock plummets. His alleged childhood friends, already ingrained in his world, quickly see the incoming collateral damage and “move on” to work with other, younger and more promising prospects. He is left alone in his failures, with the very people who swore to heaven and earth by his name magically becoming strangers in a cold world that has moved passed him. Despite the massive value he provided to everyone around him, they all moved on with spectacular indifference; like wild animals with a corpse that no longer has any meat to scavenge.
While our experiences are perhaps not as dramatic in scope (or perhaps they are), they are in style. Personally, I’ve had high points in my life were everything was going great. The universe had decided I was its new favorite person and all doors would open effortlessly, with barely a knock. The more excited I got, the more people I attracted into my circle, swept up by the smell of fortune. But fate has a way of toying with us. As soon as everything was set and ready to be executed, it all came tumbling down. The friends I had, many of which at the time were my one and only “best friend”, dissipated. I was left alone with my shattered dreams, for whatever they were worth. I can still almost hear the universe laughing “you almost had it that time”. Sometimes I truly wonder if our mortal existence isn’t some big fucking cosmic joke.
The point to all this is that it’s easy to have people shower you with affection when you’re on top of the world. When you can no longer offer them something of value outside of your friendship, or when being associated with you is not currently in vogue, they detach themselves from you with shocking ease. These parasites are the same ones that would exclaim everyday how much they value your comradery/love/work and oh, how sincere they are in their convictions. I suspect they truly believe these things at the time yet suffer from a sudden and fantastic amnesia at others. An interesting medical condition science should look into, perhaps.
Too cynical you say? Not so, these kinds of stories are so common that they’ve almost become a cliche. In the end, we must all take responsibility for our failures, as difficult as that is sometimes. The lesson here is not to become some social hermit, afraid of being hurt, but rather, to exercise due caution and careful attention to who you let get close, or else the consequences can be disastrous.
No New Friends
A common trait among those that have reached the heights of success is an attitude that ranges from aloof politeness to outright distrust of new acquaintances in their life. Of note is the fact that beautiful women often exhibit this demeanor as well, though it’s often aimed at any new man that introduces himself into her life. Experience has taught them, if they were wise enough to heed its teachings, that often times such people are not interested in them so much as what they can take from them. It’s no wonder that they deeply value those that were with them at the start.
The rich man that forever suspects every new woman in his life to be a gold digger when they would not give him the time of day before he drove a Ferrari. Or how about all his new male buddies that are suddenly interested in his hopes and dreams, but were conspicuously absent during his ascension. Look at the rapper that makes it out of extreme poverty, the few that last beyond their initial 15 minutes of fame that is. The re-occurring themes of loyalty and fake friendship is present in every album they produce, regardless of where they come from. They have all learned, from hard experience, that trust is a volatile commodity. If given to the wrong person, the consequences can be disastrous.
It’s often difficult for us as finite beings with limited information to evaluate others, for people can be the most convincing of actors. However, the problem is that these “actors” are often not really acting. Sometimes it’s not cold, calculating opportunists which abandon us. Many of them truly believe in the things they say at the time. When you are ascending, you give off a certain “scent” that intoxicates others. They become inspired and intrigued by what you’re going to achieve and, more importantly, what it means for them if they hop on the train while it’s still in the station. Once problems come, you see that those feelings, which they felt so strongly, are matched only by how quickly they are extinguished. They feel like they care, but in reality it’s just because you are giving out good emotions. Once the source is tapped out, they move on to the next. The problem wasn’t their temporary sincerity, it was how shallow their convictions were. We must return to a time when the honor of holding one’s word is held in higher regard than how hotly one’s emotions burn.
A blessing in disguise comes when we are at the bottom; we see who our true friends are. Ask yourselves the following – When you were broke, who made sure you did not starve? Which one gave you the shirt off their back to make sure you were not cold? When you lost the big game, hell, when you didn’t even make the team, who encouraged you to not give up? If you were dull, who made you sharp? When all your efforts end in failure, who still believed in you? When you were lost, who guided you back on the path? Ask yourself these questions with grave concern because the answers shall become more valuable than gold.
Traits of a Superior Caliber
So then, knowing the extremes of risk and reward between one true friend and a thousand pretenders, how can we evaluate what characteristics we should look for? What should a man of his word, with ambition and dreams, look for in one to whom he would expect (and give) so much? Of course, anything you expect from a friend you should be more than willing to do as well. More important than looking for these things in others, we must first strive to cultivate them within ourselves. Also equally important, we must realize we are all fallible human beings that often come up short. No man is perfect, and we cannot expect 100% consistency from anyone. We all slip up and lie, lose our temper, or do something we regret – in short we, to be human is to make mistakes. Always consider the circumstances, lest your reasoning become too severe and impractical. With that being said, here are 5 virtues you should look for before making a conscious decision.
The principle trait is also the one least commonly found in modern times. By honor, not only do we speak of integrity and loyalty, but also a deeper, almost spiritual aspect to one’s character. Does your friend keep his word when it is inconvenient to do so? If he tells you he’s going to X thing at X time, do you rest easy knowing that, with the exception of dire circumstances, it will get done? If they casually and constantly lie about little things, do not expect them to tell the truth when there’s matters of actual consequence.
A more complex aspect within the concept of honor is how true they are to themselves and the principles that you both should mutually adhere to. It is easier to respect an enemy that fights against you to the death compared to a traitor that defects to save his skin. Does a man rise up in the face of furious opposition, or does he cower, apologize with bowed head, and go with what the majority demands? Does he overcome his own shortcomings to do what is required? Know this, a weak man, a craven, cannot truly be honorable. Finally, understand honor is not something were you check off a few boxes and make a determination, there are aspects to it that are difficult to logically articulate, aspects that must also be felt and inferred on a spiritual level.
“Honor is the morality of superior men” – H.L. Mencken
If you were getting jumped on the street, would this friend jump in, risking injury and death to defend you? Tied to honor is the concept of strength. Not just physical strength, but more importantly, strength of character. Life hits hard, and the weak cannot handle its merciless blows. If you think someone is too frail to make the journey with you, then cast them aside for both your sakes. As we said, a pussy cannot have honor – never trust a man that hasn’t been punched in the face. Trust and respect cannot be given when a man lacks the strength to stand up for himself. In today’s world, they are often referred to by the dark denizens of the internet as cucks.
A tell-tale sign that someone is weak, pathetic, and not to be trusted are if he refers to himself as a feminist, social justice warrior, and/or generally supports hostile cultures invading his land in the name of “tolerance and diversity”. A man, and we use this term loosely in this instance, that is so obsequious to the absurd demands of liberal women and “progressives”, that he condemns his very masculinity is to be shunned, mocked, and despised at all costs. In today’s world, weakness is praised and general faggotry is hailed as an enlightened virtue. Men are encouraged to become more feminine in a hideous desecration of the natural order. Letting themselves get brainwashed into such narratives, they become unwitting pawns of a sinister agenda. They will not have your back in a fight. Befriend them at your own peril.
Seek those that are still strong enough to be a man in a world that is hostile to the very notion.
Just as one should be strong enough to stand for their principles, they should also be wise enough to question them. A fool may be well-intentioned, but his good intentions can easily drag you to ruin. Your comrade must have strength complimented by intelligence to honestly assess his beliefs – as well your own. A friend that challenges you, that questions your actions, not out of jealousy or malice, but to critically evaluate the choices you make for your own good, is an invaluable asset. When you have an idea, it is important to have someone who well help you ascertain its veracity. You want someone that speaks to you freely as an equal, not a yes-man that thinks everyone of your brilliant schemes is destined for universal acclaim.
It does you no good to invest your time into someone whose thoughts are scarcely above those of a goldfish. If you wish to rise beyond whatever class society has deemed you belong in, you will need wisdom. Often, we lack perspective in our own lives. Receiving sage advice from a trusted source is something people pay thousands for. Such sagacity is not earned through idiocy or incompetence. Those that acquire it do so because they have a commitment towards self growth. The 45 year old loser at the bar is the exact same person he was at 25. Choosing to not continue educating himself, he becomes stagnant. Inevitably, his miserable life becomes a reflection of his miserable lack of understanding. Wisdom is the quality of a superior soul, and that is exactly the kind of person you need in your corner.
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” – Proverbs 17:12
I never demand money from those I would call a good acquaintance, let alone a friend, for trivial things. I am often shocked that so-called “best friends” charge each other a fee for something as insignificant as a car ride. If you are generous with any guest you receive, how much more shall you be with your closet friends?There’s varying degrees of comfort depending on how close the relationship is, but at the highest level your home should be their home for you know they shall reciprocate without a thought. For someone you’re going to call your best friend, your best man at the wedding, the one you would entrust the security of your family to when you are away, how can something as petty as a meal or a favor be held to account? The miserly make for poor company. Be wary of such trifling people – they attract poverty to themselves like a magnet.
Obviously, this is not to say one should turn a blind eye if someone decides to abuse their hospitality. Indeed, most of the closet friendships I have lost were due to financial matters. Speaking of which, never EVER go into a serious business partnership without contracts just because you think they’re you’re “friend”. In fact, never even consider business with a friend unless you trust them with your life. Often, relationships founded on business interests do better in the entrepreneurial world than “pure friendships”. Legally binding contracts motivate people to act properly more than their word these days. A cold truth, but a truth none the less. If you insist on going into business with a friend, like I in the past would of, then at least apply the tests you find in this article rigorously.
This is old advice – old because it has been true for a long, long time. Still, I truly envy those that become successful creating a business with their best friend; to me that is a wonderful thing. For every successful partnership of this nature, a thousand break upon the temptations of lucre. Learn from the mistakes others have made – trust me – not much is uglier than friendships ruined over business.
If you want to find out the true nature of a person, see how their behavior changes when money gets involved.
By now, I realize that I sound like some stern master, meticulously lecturing on the solemn duties one must preform for what is supposed to be a fun, positive, and uplifting experience. This is not my intention, I merely speak of them earnestly because of how much it can impact one’s quality of life. That being said, it is impossible to invest this much into another if you cannot enjoy each other’s company. After all, when we think of friendships, we think of doing fun things with cool people.
Men have a different way of communicating with each other than women, and for good reason. Male compatriots tease and insult each other not out of hatred, but as a bonding ritual. We motivate each other through challenge. This also has the effect of keeping the man humble and not letting his ego wreak havoc on his life. Go to a world class mma gym, a battle-tested military unit, a pro football team, and see how they joke with each other as an example. Of course, the other extreme is that you don’t want to deal with a juvenile tool whose manner of communication with his peers has not evolved since middle school. Sometimes, when we’re at the gym, our friend will shout “lift it you fucking pussy!” and other times “you got this man, push that shit!”. A balance between positive and negative is ideal, one were both recognize when it’s time to call each other a fuck face, and when it’s time to go to war side by side.
The most important factor in this is compatible personalities + compatible senses of humors. Sometimes you meet a new person and you just “click”, and within a month it feels like you’ve know each other for years. With others, you have known them for years but there’s always something a little tense – a little off. Whatever the mismatch in frequencies is, this is an indicator of incompatibility on a deeper level. It doesn’t mean you need to boot them out of your life, but rather, it means that perhaps they are not suitable for the “best friend position”.
Friendships between Men and Women
Men and women cannot be friends. By now, you may have noticed that a lot, but not all, of the traits you would look for in a true friend are those you would like in a lover as well. Many have been tempted to make their lover their best friend. Like an inferno, these feelings burn out of control. They declare this to the world and those who disagree be damned. It cannot be helped. Inevitably, they burn out and all that is left are embers – echoes of a once great passion that was too bright to last.
This is understandable, such romantic loves must be left to run their course. What is unacceptable is those men that subject themselves to the shame of being in a woman’s friend-zone. Many women I have known will loudly disagree, stating that they are “real friends”, but this is also nonsense. Almost always, these worms in the form of men pretend to be a pretty girl’s friend to get close to her. They are too impotent to be seen as a lover, so they settle for this. Inevitably, they are always surprised when they drunkenly make an uncalibrated move on them. It is foolish and cringe-worthy. Such men lack strength and self respect.
“Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.” – Oscar Wilde
Men’s bonds with each other are not governed by fleeting emotions…they are governed by honor.
The Spirit of Brothers
I say to you as truly as can be, if you ever find such a friend, treasure them above all material possession.
It is not easy to find a person that meets such lofty qualifications. Can we even say that we meet all of them? Perhaps not, and perhaps a true friend does not meet them to such a stringent degree. But the difference is that we must all strive to them. A commitment to growing in our manhood for the greater good is the culmination of all the truths we have espoused.
Thus, look at this as a general guide to what you should expect from ones you consider a true friend. Remember, all that you expect from them you must be willing to do twice over. I wish you luck on your journey, may you find that which you deserve and more.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17