Today friendship is understood either in biological terms or in economic terms, or in sociological terms – an acquaintance, a kind of acquaintance. But friendship means that if the need arises you will be ready even to sacrifice yourself. Friendship means that you have made somebody else more important than you; somebody else has become more precious than you yourself. It is not a business, it is love in its purity.
This friendship is possible even the way you are now. Even unconscious people can have such a friendship. But if you start becoming more conscious of your being, then friendship starts turning into friendliness. Friendliness has a wider connotation, a far bigger sky.
Friendship is a small thing compared to friendliness. Friendship can be broken, the friend can turn into an enemy. That possibility remains intrinsic in the very fact of friendship.
I am reminded of Machiavelli giving guidance to the princes of the world in his great work, The Prince. One of his guidelines is: Never tell anything to your friend which you would not be able to say to your enemy, because the person who is a friend today may turn into an enemy tomorrow.
And the suggestion following that is: Never say anything against the enemy, because the enemy can turn into a friend tomorrow. Then you will be very embarrassed. Machiavelli is giving a very clear insight: that our ordinary love can change into hate, our friendship can become enmity any moment. This is the unconscious state of man: where love is hiding hate just behind it, where you hate the same person you love but you are not aware of it.
Friendliness becomes possible only when you are real, you are authentic and you are absolutely alert of your being. And if love arises out of this awareness, it will be friendliness. Friendliness can never change into its opposite. Remember this as a criterion: that the greatest values of life are only those which cannot change into their opposite – in fact there is no opposite.
You are asking, “What is real authentic friendliness?”
It will need a great transformation in you to have a taste of friendliness. As you are, friendliness is a faraway star. You can have a look at the faraway star, you can have a certain intellectual understanding, but it will remain only an intellectual understanding, not an existential taste.
Unless you have an existential taste of friendliness, it will be very difficult, almost impossible to make a distinction between friendship and friendliness.
Friendliness is the purest thing you can conceive about love. It is so pure that you cannot even call it a flower, you can only call it a fragrance which you can feel and experience, but you cannot catch hold of. It is there, your nostrils are full of it, your whole being is surrounded by it. You feel the vibe, but there is no way to catch hold of it. The experience is so big and so vast and our hands are too small.