Today, I want to talk about what kind of friends you should get close to – and what kind of friends you should stay away from.

Firstly, you should get closer to friends who are strict in their moral self-discipline. If you get closer to them, you can reduce many cravings.

You should also get closer to friends who are wise – and I’m talking here about wisdom, not cleverness. When you get closer to wise friends, they can help you out of delusion.

You should get closer to friends who are humble, and able to bear all manner of hardships. When you get closer to them, they can help remove your arrogance, pride and complacency.

You should get closer to friends who “hold and retain” texts and literature. These friends will often advise you to say or listen to nothing that is improper. By being close to such friends, you stand to learn from texts the various etiquettes and principles of being a decent person. Friends who are educated and understand texts can help solve your problems.

You should get closer to friends who give sincere advice. They are your true friends, because they speak their minds and offer advice that can be outspoken. These friends are distinct from those who take advantage of their straightforwardness to scold or talk down to others. Those are not morally cultivated, and their minds have deviated from the righteous and sincere state. Real advice should be grounded in sincerity, which can be demonstrated by treating other people with your heart. Friends such as these should be nurtured, because they can make you aware of your mistakes and shortcomings.

You should get closer to friends who are courageous and diligent in their endeavours. Why? Because they will help to facilitate the fruition of your own endeavours, along the path of your spiritual practice. In turn, you’ll put in more effort and succeed more quickly.

You should get closer to friends who value morality and loyalty, and do not think of wealth as something important. That way, they can help you to part with your stinginess.

You should get closer to friends who are benevolent, and who cherish everything on earth. They are kind-hearted and compassionate people who conserve rather than waste things. Being close to them helps you get rid of your attachment to the notion of self.

BPT Vol 1.25: On Making Friends – From a Buddhist Perspective