I have a friend who drinks too much and she is creating grave health problems for herself. Sometimes she is also just embarrassing to be with. Do I tell her that? Do I join in the drinking for a short time, thinking that is her problem? Would I lose her friendship if I gave her unwanted advice? What is real friendship? I was thinking about this problem for long and came across this piece by Nichiren-
“If one befriends another person but lacks the mercy to correct him, one is in fact his enemy.”
I had avoided meeting her for sometime because it pains me to see her in this way. But after reading this, I realise I had in fact been not a good friend to her. Compassion is about gently (and clearly) explaining how someone’s behaviour is affecting you and then leaving the person to change. You can’t change the person- it is unto them to find the strength to do so- all you can do is help them along the way.