The Buddha's Guide to Peace and Happiness
1. Basic Morality
2. Building and
    Managing Wealth
3. Protecting Assets
    and Wealth
4. False Friends
    and True Friends
5. Protecting
6. Qualities for

How to Accumulate Wealth
1. Material Wealth
    and Progress
2. Spiritual Wealth
    and Progress

How to Avoid Downfall
1. Material Downfall
2. Moral Downfall
3. Spiritual Downfall

A Life of Blessings
1. The Essential
2. The Supporting
3. The Personal
4. The Higher
5. The Supreme


The Buddha’s Guide to Peace and Happiness

The Sigalovada Sutta

4. False Friends and True Friends

False friends

Those who take
They take whatever they can get
They give little but ask for much
They do what is required only out of obligation
They are friends for their own advantage

Those who pay lip-service
They claim to have been good friends in the past
They promise to be good friends in the future
They try to gain favour with kind but empty words
When called upon, they say they are unable to help

Those who flatter
They approve of wrong-doing
They approve or disapprove of doing right, whichever will benefit them
They speak well of you in your presence
They speak ill of you to others when you are not around

Those who bring ruin
They are companions for indulging in drinking
They are companions for being out late at night for no good reason
They are companions for excessively frequenting places of entertainment
They are companions for indulging in gambling

In summary :
The friends who take
The friends who pay lip-service
The friends who flatter
The friends who brings ruin.

The wise will know that these four
Are not friends but are enemies;
And should be avoided
As one avoids a dangerous path.

True friends

Those who are helpmates
They protect you when you are vulnerable
They protect your possessions when you are vulnerable
They are there when you are troubled
They provide generously when there is a need

Those who remain the same in good times and in bad
They trust you with their secrets
They can be trusted with your secrets
They do not abandon you in times of trouble
They may even give their life for you

Those who give good counsel
They restrain you from doing wrong
They encourage you to do what is right
They keep you informed of what you should know
They show the right way and are companions for spiritual practice

Those who are compassionate
They sympathize in your misfortune
They rejoice in your good fortune
They restrain others from speaking ill of you
They commend those who speak well of you

In summary :
The friends who help
The friends who stay in good times and in bad
The friends who give good counsel
The friends who are compassionate.

The wise will know that these four
Are truly friends;
And treasure them
As a mother does her own child.


To the Buddha, friendship is the single most important factor determining the direction of a person’s life.  The right kind of friends can help even the most wayward person to change for the better, whereas the wrong kind of friends can bring down even the most upright person.  Good friends, especially spiritual friends, can lead each other to the greatest heights. 

The Buddha pointed out that we become like those we befriend, and if we unmindfully associate with false friends, our decline can come about very rapidly indeed.  Bad company should be avoided, unless we are there in times of need or to help them improve themselves.  True friends are rare and should thus be treasured.