An Ode to my Friends on a Hot Summer’s Morn’


“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” ~Plutarch

Sympathy is the death knell of a good friendship. Empathy, on the other hand, is a restorative balm that heals life’s cuts and scrapes. Sympathy says to another “you are right to complain” while empathy elicits solutions from friends who express genuine concern.

Friends rightly chosen consistently call for the finest from you. They expect your best and refuse to accept excuses for shortcuts, shortcomings and short-sightedness. At the same time, friends well chosen are the most forgiving of your associates. They accept you as you are but always leave room for the new you, especially when others would write you off or turn a cold shoulder, in search of fairer weather.

True friends invest trust beyond the point where you feel trustworthy. Such trust compels greatness in action. While it is said that competition fuels innovation, in my estimation a trusting, cooperative friend is the greater catalyst.


“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.” ~Epicurus

I thank my lucky stars for my circle of friends. Their expression of excellence inspires mine. Their solidity – no matter how stormy life’s seas may become – affords me an island upon which I can catch my breath and regain my legs. More importantly, their unconditional love enkindles my respect and appreciation for others.

Do you have such a friend? There is nothing on earth to be more prized than a true and honest friend. Many who would claim to be your friend will turn their backs on you or even stab yours out of smallness, desperation or shame, but find one friend, one true friend, and your life will never be the same.

Let not the small and desperate acts of those who would violate your friendship cause you to lose heart. Instead, let the experience redouble your resolve to be a right and dependable friend to those who remain.

Mark Twain

“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.” ~Mark Twain

Retaliation, retribution, diminution, disrespect and dishonesty are the tools of those who have failed to come to know the reality of their greatness. Those who employ such tools will eventually find themselves alone, distrustful of others and in need of a true friend. Conversely, forgiveness, inspiration, reverence and honorableness constrain to a noble and endearing state of being.

Which will it be for you?

15 thoughts on “An Ode to my Friends on a Hot Summer’s Morn’

  1. Hi Gregg,

    What a great message, so eloquently put. Makes one think about what is really important to them in a friendship and how one can better serve true friends one has.

    Onwards and upwards.


  2. Joshua

    Perfect timing as always my friend!!!
    I am currently Overlooking the horseshoe falls in Niagara Falls Canada with my best friend and wife on our Honeymoon!!
    I appreciate deeply your description of a “True” friend and will aspire to be just that to those whom are in my world and those ones who’s paths I have not crossed yet.
    Thanks Gregg for this refreshing perspective, during this precious time.


  3. Colin

    I really can see where you have to extend trust beyond someone’s trustworthiness to be a true friend. I guess the idea is that as a true friend, you want your friends to keep growing and becoming more effective people. To do that you need to invest some capital, ie trust, and make a bet on them. I am 100% sure that others have extended this trust to me along the way. I appreciate it, and I hope that my growth provided a good return on their investment. I know that it meant a lot to me and that I will always do this for my friends. Thanks!


  4. Lady Leo

    I love this description of friendship and I think it is a poetic way to describe empathetic friendship. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.” Beautiful post it makes me appreciate my own dear friends.


  5. Andrea

    You seem to have an innate ability to allow me the opportunity to start my day with coffee and tears of appreciation. I am so incredibly blessed … and only hope that I am half of the friend to my “Other pieces” as they are to me. (Just printed this one out and gave it to some of the beautiful people in my life.) Thank you.


  6. RJ

    A true friendship, as described here, is certainly rare in these days. All the more reason to nurture and cherish it with great care. Done rightly it will last a lifetime.


  7. Isabelle Kearney

    True friendship is one of those things that you remember for the rest of your life.

    You make an excellent point about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Although it might seem either a sublte difference, symantics or even cruel not to sympathize, empathy is actually a more powerful understanding and ability to intuit what someone else is feeling or going through. Being able to help a friend in need requires not only unconditional love, but also objectivity. Empathy is an essential part of being a true friend and without it, we’d be missing one of our greatest abilities – the power, understanding and intelligence of the heart.


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