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.



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