On Amazon there are 34,656 books about friendship.

Half of these books are children’s books.

Clearly friendship is perceived as a kid thing and doesn’t get the publicity that other relationships do (there are 92,769 books on Amazon about marriage).

My favorite book about friendship is George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall.

It’s a children’s book, of course, and the two characters are hippopotamuses. But I think even adults can learn a thing or two about friendship from George and Martha:

1. It’s OK to be honest. George didn’t have the courage to tell Martha he didn’t care for her split pea soup but she found out and was happy to make him something he liked instead.

2. It’s OK to be nosy but privacy is important. Martha didn’t let George peek in her diary, even when he asked politely.

3. If you’re too vain your friend has a right to call you on it. George put a silly picture on Martha’s mirror because she was too fond of looking in the mirror.

4. Friends always look on the bright side and know how to cheer you up, even if, like George, you have a broken tooth and feel ugly.

5. Friends show interest in their friend’s interests even if they have no interest themselves. George dragged himself to Martha’s dance recital and ended up enjoying it.

6. t’s hard to fool friends. When George wore different costumes Martha always recognized him.

7. Friends never say “I told you so.”  George quietly took care of sunburned Martha who had ignored his advice to put on sunblock.

8. A friend hates to see you unhappy. George bought tulips for Martha when she cried about how her garden was overrun with weeds.

9. Friends know right away when you aren’t being authentic. George told fibs about being a champion jumper and a snake charmer but Martha knew better.

10. Friends nudge you outside your comfort zone sometimes. George wouldn’t get out of bed to go on a picnic with her so she pushed him in the bed all the way to the park. He ended up enjoying the picnic.

11. There’s no reason to be jealous of your friend. George wouldn’t let Martha see the secret clubhouse he was building and she was beside herself with jealousy, only to find out later that it was a fan club for her.

12. Friends help you regain your confidence. Martha started wobbling on the tight rope so George did some fast talking to restore her confidence.

13. Don’t scare your friends because they might scare you back.

14. Sometimes friends need time alone. Martha was angry when George wouldn’t spend an afternoon with her but she ended up having lots of fun by herself playing her saxophone.

15. Sometimes a friend has to be dramatic to make a point. George wouldn’t listen to Martha when she told him to stop eating so many sweets. So, to George’s horror, she started smoking a cigar. He stopped eating sweets.

16. Laughter is the best gift you can give your friend.

17. Good friends can’t stay cross for long.

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