The Reality of Friendship

Posted: September 27, 2014 in Uncategorized
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After my latest article, a person whom I considered to be a good friend did exactly what I asked anyone that disagreed with my article to do; he reached out.  He spoke honestly and candidly and for that, he stayed as true to the character that I always expected from him.  However, a small fractal of light blinded me as I read his assertion about my character as he postulated about his own.

Friendship is such an ethereal concept.  We have friends and then we have true friends.  The concept of a true friend is really based on the individual.  What are you willing to accept and what are you not willing to accept?  Is an acquaintance a friend?  Is a coworker a friend or just someone who by design you are around a great deal more than most and make the best of that situation?  Does a friend have to take every phone call you make, respond immediately to every text or email you send?

A friend, in my estimation, is someone you can lean on when you need support of any kind.  A friend may give you a hard time about a decision, but they do so out of true concern for you.  If you lean too long, they can kick your legs out from under you and say, “it’s time to stand on your own two feet.”

A friend does not always agree with you.  They should have the kind of relationship based on trust and admiration that is open to scrutiny and can say the hard thing to you even if it hurts both involved parties.  Being a friend means hurting when your friend hurts.

However, friends can sometimes say things out of anger or disappointment.  They can use your past to vilify, scold, dismantle or condemn.  When an individual feels compelled to use what they have done for you to indemnify you, then they are acting purely out of anger or your assessment of that person is actually much different from what you suspected.

When I went through a bitter divorce, fell into a life draining depression and attempted suicide, my friends, even the truest of my friends, disappeared.  They did not do it out of spite, they did it out of fear.  I understood and I still understand.  Those I worked with that were essentially “work” friends, knew about my situation and while I respected a great many of them, it turns out that being there for me comes with a price.

I spoke out about something that is unequivocally the truth.  However, my words, according to this person threatened the livelihoods of many people who, according to him, supported my academic and comedic aspirations.  I have a commitment to these individuals because, as he made abundantly clear, “were there for me during my divorce and my suicide attempt.”

Yeah, true friend indeed.

I don’t remember his face, standing over me screaming the way I remember my Mom doing just that.  When I was hospitalized, I don’t remember a phone call or a visit.  I do remember my chops busted for being the loose cannon and crazy.  A true friend, for the record, can hold onto memories but never feels compelled to hurt a person through an experience that is as raw today as it was the day I tried to end my life.

Friends forgive and I forgive him.  I am sure he does not think there’s anything to forgive, but for someone who cared so much for me, his response was in reaction to how much he cares for himself.  Self preservation; the essence of survival.

Friendship is, after all, an ethereal concept.  We want it to be rich and fruitful, a metaphorical tree from which we can sustain.  We envision it as something so deeply rooted in the ground that no matter the force of the storm, it will stand long after the winds have dissipated.  Friendship is the bedrock for our existence, an immovable force that provides the support for all things that we do and become in our lives.

I would accept the argument that I acted selfishly, but the person reporting on who I am uses a veiled argument that is righteous for one group, and ignorant towards another.

Regardless, this was never about friendship, this was about business.




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