"a friend in need is a friend indeed" means a friend who helps when we are in trouble is a true friend - unlike others who disappear during such situations. Meaning of the phrase is sometimes misunderstood as "a needy person becomes a friend to obtain help from others".
There is no dearth of friends in this world but finding a true friend is really difficult. Lot of people boast that they have hundreds of friends but when we are in trouble how many of them will extend a helpful hand? Only a few. A true friend is the one who stays with us in our ups and downs of life. They help in our tough times but also share our happy moments. Many a times we see "friends" flock around financially well to do people to avail the lavish spending they might offer. But when their financial status is lost and they are in need of help, these so called friends are the first to step out. Very few people are lucky enough to find true friends and must cherish and treasure them throughout their life.
The word 'friendship' has become very cheap in the modern times. We call everybody who comes into our contact our friend. Mere acquaintances or those with whom we work because of our posting at a certain place cannot be called friends.
Even our neighbors and those whom we frequently meet in our social dealings are not necessarily our friends. Friendship is something noble and great but very rare. A good friend is one of man's most precious possessions. It is also true that without friends man's life is dry, dull and dreary. The company of friend's makes life happy, interesting and worth living.
A true friend understands us, appreciates our circumstances and problems and shares our joys and misfortunes. He is our counsellor and guide. He is a source of joy, strength and courage. He increases our pleasure in prosperity and lessens our sorrows and sufferings in adversity. When we are rich, prosperous and powerful, a flock of people gather around us and claim to be our sincere friends.