When my friend and I went to Nantwich last month, I picked up a copy of The Good Book. I've been reading it here and there, sometimes reading the pages in order and sometimes just letting the book open to a random page. Today is a random day, and since I've been neglecting my blog here recently, I thought I would share the verse and my thoughts with you.
Proverbs Chapter 70, Verse 8: "Friend and flatterer do not meet in the same person."
A true friend will not try to flatter you. Flattery is false and rings of insincerities. A friend will give true praise where it is warranted, wise counsel when it is needed, and will not hesitate to give you a swift kick up the backside when you're being an ass!
How then, do we tell a friend from a flatterer? Plutarch, I believe, said it best,
"In the first place, we must accurately remark upon the whole tenor of his life and conversation, whether or not the resemblance he pretends to the original be of any continuance, natural and easy, and all of a piece; whether he square his actions according to any one steady and uniform model, as becomes an ingenuous lover of conversation and friendship, which is all of one thread, and still like itself; for this is a true friend indeed. But the flatterer, who has no principles in him, and leads not a life properly his own, but forms and moulds it according to the various humors and caprices of those he designs to bubble, is never one and the same man, but a mere dapple or trimmer, who changes shapes with his company, like water that always turns and winds itself into the figure of the channel through which it flows."
A friend will be themselves no matter who they are around, while a flatterer changes his beliefs, his ideals, indeed his entire personality, according to each person he is with. That's an easy way to tell the two apart, no?
In parting, be a friend not a flatterer.