What does Emerson mean in “Friendship” when he says, “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere”? Why does he value this so much?

In this line, Ralph Waldo Emerson means that with a real friend, a person can share their true ideas and feelings, discuss openly and honestly, and speak words of correction as needed. This is valuable because it is so rare.

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We all dissimulate. We all hide under a false front. We tell people we're fine when we aren't because we know they don't want to hear the truth. We fail to speak our true opinions because we are afraid someone might be offend. We either hide what we really think or just agree with the crowd because it's easier. We “go along to get along.”

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essayFriendship,” however, we do not have to put up this kind of act with our true friends. “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere,” Emerson asserts. When a real friend asks if we are okay, we feel free to say “no” and explain why. A friend cares enough to listen and sympathize. With a real friend, we can say what we really think. Our friend might not agree with all of our opinions, but he or she will respect us enough to listen, discuss openly and honestly, and if necessary, agree to disagree.

Further, true friends are not afraid to correct each other when they see something going wrong. This is real love, for real love wills the best for another person and then does its best to help that person achieve such. Real friendship pulls a friend back from the edge of a cliff, unafraid to speak up and try to save that friend from destructive choices.

This is something valuable indeed, for it is rare. As Emerson says, we tend toward hypocrisy when we are with other people. We shy away from speaking up and hide behind niceties and jokes. But with a true friend, we can simply be who we are and allow our friend the same privilege.

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