So, I have been kinda been emotionally involved with life, and people lately, and trying to get back in to writing and posting.
So for this post, to continue my reflective commentary, I just want to put down some thoughts about… well… err… people and friends.
So, a ‘friend’ asked me, why don’t you have more friends?
An innocent question. I meet a lot of people, and have lots of connections, but friends?
I can count the number I have on 1 hand.
I am choosy, what can I say.
Basically, like everyone I know, when I meet someone immediately I classify them as either:
1) Like them – someone I don’t mind being with.
2) Don’t like them – will deal with them if I have too, but would rather not.
In my life, 80% of the people I meet are in the first category.
Being someone I like, does not make them my friend, but it gives them an opportunity to be one.
Now, we come to the gist of the matter – what is a friend?
For me, a friend is someone I can trust at the highest level. I can trust them, and I know they have the strength to do the right thing by me. To have the strength to respect me at the same level I respect them. To treat me as well as I treat them.
Trust… when I meet someone, I give them the benefit of the doubt, and I trust them. I mean if you live your life not having the strength to trust someone, then you will have a very lonely life.
I call this trust a ‘virgin’ trust. I give it to all, but not all have the strength to keep it.
I will give an example:
You marry someone, and you promise not to sleep with someone else. You have the virgin trust of you spouse. If you cheat, and get caught, then the trust is broken. You were too weak, you let your greed over power your commitment to do the right thing.
So, let’s say you and your spouse ‘work it out’. She/He takes you back and forgives you. I can tell you, they will never trust you to the same level. The ‘virgin’ trust has been broken, and like virginity, once gone it is gone. A level of trust will return in time, but it will never be to the level of the ‘virgin’ trust. Something special is lost in that situation.
Over time, relationships become stronger. People have all level of strength, and quirks and other issues. Nobody is perfect.
For me, to be a friend, one has to be strong enough not to take advantage of me.
Trust, strength and time. That makes a friend. A true friend is someone who over a period of time and trial, has had the strength to keep their ‘virgin’ trust with me, and I them.
A former friend, said to me, ‘I am sorry, I have been a bad man.’
I said, “No, you are not a ‘bad’ man. You had the intent to do what you promised; you didn’t ‘want’ to lie to me, trick me and take advantage of me. You just didn’t have the internal strength to do what you committed to doing. You are not a ‘bad’ man, you are a weak man.”
I mean it is one thing to promise you will return a pencil at 5:00pm, and you don’t do it till the next day. It is trivial. You promise not to steal money you have been entrusted with, then you do – that is a big problem. There is a line between what means some thing and what doesn’t.
This line is developed early on in the relationship, but many times it is not communicated or defined clearly enough, and ‘virgin’ trust is lost. It happens.
I guess when I talk about ‘virgin’ trust and friendship – a true friend will know what matters and what is trivial.
Friendship levels (for me – personal as well as business):
Good Friend: A good friend knows what matters, respects you and has the strength to do the right thing when it matters, and even if it is not in their best interest they will honor the relationship and do the right thing. This is has been tested over time.
Generic Friend: Someone new or someone I don’t deal with often, who has a certain level of trust, and more is given over time. With time and trial, they become Good Friends. I guess lots/all of my facebook friends would fall in this category – but really? Maybe Facebook Friend is it’s own category?
The Weak: A weak person is not a friend; they have lost the ‘virgin’ trust. They can be a friendly acquaintance, but that is not a Good Friend. They could also be a Good Friend, who broke the trust in a very weak way and/or with something very significant – they then become ‘The Weak’. The Weak are people I would tolerate if needed, usually because of business, but definitely not someone not strong enough to remain a friend.
The Bad: A bad person is someone who may have internal strength, but prefers to treat people in a bad way for many reasons, mostly because of the fear not being in control. Unlike a weak person, who may ‘want’ to do the right thing, but isn’t strong enough – the bad person has not the intent or desire to do the right thing. They simple do what they want to get what they want. Users and abusers.
So, over time, I only have a few Good Friends, but I am OK with that, since they are people I can really trust, and they are really good people.
I believe, it is not how many friends you have, but if you at least have a Good Friend or 2 in your life.
I am very fortunate for the ones I have.