How to handle friendships

  1. 16 A tie-beam bonded into a building will not be dislodged by an earthquake; so too, a heart resolved after due reflection will not flinch at the critical moment.
  2. 17 A heart founded on intelligent reflection is like a stucco decoration on a smooth wall.
  3. 18 Pebbles placed on top of a wall will not stand up to the wind; no more can the heart of a fool frightened at his own thoughts stand up to fear.
  4. 19 Prick an eye and you will draw a tear, prick a heart and you reveal its feelings.
  5. 20 Throw stones at birds and you scare them away, reproach a friend and you destroy a friendship.
  6. 21 If you have drawn your sword on a friend, do not despair; there is a way back.
  7. 22 If you have opened your mouth against your friend, do not worry; there is hope for reconciliation; but insult, arrogance, betrayal of secrets, and the stab in the back — in these cases any friend is lost.
  8. 23 Win your neighbor’s confidence when he is poor, so that you may enjoy his later good fortune with him; stand by him in times of trouble, in order to have your share when he comes into a legacy.
  9. 24 Fire is heralded by the reek of the furnace and smoke, so too, bloodshed by insults.
  10. 25 I shall not be ashamed to shelter a friend nor shall I hide away from him,
  11. 26 and if evil comes to me through him, everyone who hears about it will beware of him.
  12. 27 Who will set a guard on my mouth, and an efficient seal on my lips, to keep me from falling, and my tongue from causing my ruin?

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