782 – Influence of Friends

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Influence of Friends

There is a famous saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”.  It is generally believed that every man is an average of the five people he spends his time with.

Building healthy friendships is an important part of one’s life. Friendship can happen with someone who you know shares the same values and beliefs as you. Good friends will be willing to tell you when you are right and when you are wrong. They are built on mutual respect and trust.

Any friendship should have the following 5 attributes.

  • Make you a better person
  • Support you
  • Push you to meet your goals
  • Inspire you
  • Help you transform

As people grow, they require different friends for different stages of their life. Very rarely do, friendships developed during school  or early adult hood days,  sustain throughout one’s life. As one moves to subsequent phases of life, one has to find  people who can help them to handle that phase. Like it or not, you become similar to the friends you hang out with. Since it is going to influence your behavior, so why not pick ones who will be a positive influence?

Every decade has seen a change in the social setup. About 50 years back, people were exchanging thoughts and views within a closely knit group consisting of family members, near relatives and friends in the local area. With the advent of print media, reading habits increased and with availability of more news and information the exposure of each individual grew up and influenced their thoughts . Next step in the evolution of the media was visual media in the form of Television through which people could see for themselves the things happening around the world.  The current explosion through social media, has brought the entire world in one’s finger tips. It has also brought about new challenges in handling them. In this digital age, phone calls have replaced text messages and social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc.,) have replaced the need for face-to-face interaction. Gathering with friends is only on few occasions.

Statistic shows the average daily usage of social media worldwide, is around 2 hours a day. One of the most common reasons for using social networks is to “fill up spare time” and this is across all age groups.  Since the influence of interactions through Social media is strong and the possibility of interaction with people without introduction, one has to benchmark their contacts on the following guidelines.

  • Take a look at your network and the friends in that network. Your friends are going to influence your behavior, so why not pick ones who will be a positive influence?
  • Ask yourself whether interacting with a person will lift you up or drag you down.
  • List five people who can help you achieve your dreams and goals.
  • Create your own set of advisors whoare made up of people who can inspire you and who can help nourish the best in you. Interact with them regularly.
  • Find a mentor, who sees the potential in you that you may not even see in yourself.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 782 says that, Friendship with noble and wise men enhances one’s values day by day like the waxing moon and friendship with the illiterate with diminish their values every day like a waning moon.

நிறைநீர நீரவர் கேண்மை பிறைமதிப் 
பின்நீர பேதையார் நட்பு

Niraineera Neeravar Kenmai Piraimadhip
Pin-neera Pedhaiyaar Natpu

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

நீரவர் கேண்மை பிறை நிறை நீர – அறிவுடையார் நட்புக்கள் பிறை நிறையும் தன்மைபோல நாள்தோறும் நிறையுந் தன்மையவாம்; பேதையார் நட்பு மதிப் பின் நீர – மற்றைப் பேதைமையுடையார் நட்புக்கள் நிறைந்த மதி பின் குறையுந் தன்மை போல நாள்தோறும் குறையுந்தன்மையவாம். ‘(‘நீரவர்’ என்றார், இனிமை பற்றி. கேண்மை, நட்பு என்பன ஒரு பொருட்கிளவி. செய்தாரது பன்மையான் நட்பும் பலவாயின. அறிவுடையாரும் அறிவுடையாரும் செய்தன முன் சுருங்கிப் பின் பெருகற்கும், பேதையாரும் பேதையாரும் செய்தன முன் பெருகிப் பின் சுருங்கற்கும் காரணம் தம்முள் முன் அறியாமையும் பின்’ அறிதலும் ஆம்.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

ஸ்னேஹோ பு³த்³தி⁴மதா ஸாகம் வர்த⁴தே பூர்ணசந்த்³ரவத் |
பு³த்³தி⁴ஹீனை: க்ருத: ஸ்னேஹ: க்ஷீயதே க்ஷீணசந்த்³ரவத் ||