Friendship is given special mention and multiple chapters are dedicated to this subject in Thirukural. On this topic, Thirukural proclaims – If man must desire, let him desire for a good friendship for that friendship protects him from enemies or time of trouble and help steer towards the path of righteousness. The significance of Friendship is such that Thiruvalluvar goes above and beyond to describe how to choose good friends, how to avoid bad friends and how a long standing friendship be identified.

The following are discussed under Friendship -

• Friendship

• Choosing Friendship

• Bad Friendship

• Undesirable Friendship

• Testing and Trusting

• Avoiding Mean Company


Good Friendship saves a person from the wrath of enmity. Friendship with wise people grows like the moon growing towards full moon day and friendship with unwise will decrease like waning moon. Reading a book multiple times gives a better understanding, just like that the friendship with great people brings deeper enlightenment. It is very difficult to make friendship with wise people. But when it happens never let go of such friendship.

Friendship is not only for enjoyment, but also to bring out the faults of friends for rectification. Frequently meeting each other will not help to grow wise friendship. Respecting each other’s feelings and better understanding between friends makes it good friendship. True friendship lies not in mere smiling on the face, but it penetrates deeply into the heart. Good friendship saves their friends from destruction and helps in selecting true path. It also protects the friends from falling into difficulties. Pretending and false displaying as close friends is not a good friendship. Such kind of friendship does not stay for a long time.

Choosing Friendship

Choosing friends is a good art and it depends on many factors. Nothing is worse than bad friendship, if it is happens, abandon immediately. The friendship which is not tested brings sufferings. Before committing to friendship, one should understand and study their character, relatives and upbringing. To get friendship with good people, one can sacrifice anything. Even in distress condition there will be a small hope if one has a good friend. It is always good to renounce the friendship with bad people instead of continuing. One should not think of the acts that reduce the zeal of doing good works. Friendship of those who deserted in difficulties disheartens even at the time of death. Always do friendship with unblemished noble people and avoid the friendship of idiots and foolish people.

Bad Friendship

Friendship without true love, does not last longer and it is better not to commit. The friendship formed with the purpose of gaining something and breaking it at the time of loss is useless, and such friendship is nothing but a commercial partnership. An untrained horse is not useful in the war, in the same way a friend who leaves in the need is useless. Friends of selfish nature are similar to prostitutes who works for profits and their association brings misery. The rivalry with noble people is better than the friendship with the bad people. Enmity with known bad friends is better than the people who are pretending as good people. It is advisable to break the friendship of people who spoils the possible tasks with bad intention. One should not do friendship with the people whose deeds and words are different and not matching. Completely avoid the friendship of the people who speaks pleasantly in private and harshly in public.

Undesirable Friendship

Fake friendship destroys life very much, it must be avoided. The false friend can be compared to a prostitute. Even after reading many good books, the enemies do not change their behavior of doing bad. One should be scared of the friendship with the people who talks sweetly and does harm. The enemies speak as if they are good friends, but on passing of time their enmity is disclosed. The sweet words of enemies hurt like the arrows from a bended bow. The tears of fake friends are not believable and their folded hands also may conceal their arms. False laugh and love harms the friendship very much. When you come across a false friend, avoid him in a friendly way and give up his fake friendship at the earliest possible.

Testing and Trusting

To select a person for any work, the leader should always analyse four important qualities – his virtue, wealth, joy and fear of life. After analysing the good and bad qualities of a person the leader should judge the person depending on his good qualities. The ruler should select a noble person who is not interested in doing evil deeds, have good qualities and have good name in the society for his government. some noble people may be completely free from wrong deeds and mistakes but they may have quality of ignorance, so it is always good to test a person before giving responsibilities. The ruler should not select a person who doesn’t have relatives, friends and attachments. Because such a people will not have any social responsibilities and he may neglect his work. Selecting inefficient persons out of love leads to great confusion, troubles and also spoils the work assigned to them. Trusting people without testing brings lot of troubles. Never assign the work to untested and untrusted persons. Trusting men without testing and doubting tested people leads to innumerable difficulties.

Avoiding Mean Company

The Noble people are scared of doing friendship with mean minded people, but the mean minded people prefers bad friends and they treat them as their nearest relatives. Water changes its colour, taste, quality and the course according to the soil it flows on. Similarly, a man‘s wisdom depends on his mind but his character depends on his friends. Good friendship gives good thoughts and it helps in building good character. The pure mind brings forth good behavior and good friends. The purity of mind gives richness to soul. The good company brings fame and happiness in life. Good minded people strengthens their goodness by doing friendship with good people. The good company is undoubtedly a powerful support for building a good character and it leads to eternal happiness. It implies that the bad company ruins Man’s life. Hence avoid mean or bad company forever.

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