No. 14



The late Dale Carnegie, founder of the internationally famous course on public speaking and human relations, once said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
It has often been said that we all need friends and I personally know this is true. While some people are loners and may not have any friends at all, to my way of thinking, they are missing one of the greatest blessings in life. We all need friends and perhaps even more importantly, friends need us.

Now here is an important question you may wish to consider. Do you have even one really true friend? That is, if you really and truly needed help, someone you can count on and someone you know for certain that would not let you down? I have several friends that I believe I can count on, however, until they are put to the test, I won't really know for sure, will I?
It has been my experience over the past several years that when I've been down and needed help, I've had a lot of people who I thought were my friends, desert me. On the other hand, I've had people who I didn't know were my friends, right there when I needed them most. Have you also found this to be true in your life?

A conversation I had some time back is what brought these thoughts to mind. One day while having lunch with my wife at the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, I met a lady by the name of Mildred Ward. Somehow we got to talking about friends and Mildred told me about a woman she knows who complained to her about not having any friends, and she went on to tell me why this was true.

One morning about two a.m., this woman's telephone rang and on the other end of the line was an elderly lady who had fallen in her home and couldn't get up. So, she called her friend (at least someone she thought was her friend), and asked her to come to her home and help her. Now, do you think she went? Well, the answer is 'no'. It was too far. At least that's what she told her.

When this woman complained to Mildred about not having any friends, Mildred said, "I told her to her face, the reason you don't have any friends is because you don't know how to be a friend. You are a 'fair weather' friend." When you stop and think about it, this is so true. Most of us can be a friend as long as the sun is shining and it doesn't cost us anything, but when friendship begins to cost us something, it has a way of setting the record straight. At this point the truth is revealed and we are either a true friend or a fair weather friend. With this thought in mind it might be well to share an old German Proverb that says, "There are three kinds of friends: those who love you, those who hate you and those who care nothing about you."

A few days ago I received a phone call from a lady who was not even a close friend, and she said, "Bill and I have had an accident, can you come get us?" She then told me where they were. Maybe I was motivated because I had just written this column, but at this point I didn't ask any questions, but said, "I will be there as quickly as I can get there."
The point I'm trying to make is simply this: if we want to have some true friends, we must be there when someone who calls us "friend" really and truly needs us. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)