Tuesday, October 14, 2014

About Friends


            When I look back, I have always been fortunate to have had really good friends, whatever the challenges we have endured.  However, with difficult and challenging times to come, there are a few things I would like you to consider with regard to friends. Consequently, I have run the mile for them, and then been the recipient of some really herculean aid and sometimes wonderful gestures when events turned dark in my own life. I will always be grateful to those people, and I think they likely already know who they are.

                True friends are rare.  Most of us have neighbors who aren't really friends but are acquaintances.  They may seem to have your back and to be available to you, but they aren't really friends. If you were to move out of state, would they still be your friend ?  Would you still rate as more than a Christmas card ?  Would you rate as a Christmas e-card ?    Would they extend themselves or inconvenience themselves in an emergency ?  If not, then they are neighbors on which you are on good terms, they are not friends.

                 Most of us have some "work friends".  These are people with whom we have worked, often for many years, and we are often on very good terms with them and have developed trusting relationships with them in the workplace.  However, if you changed jobs, would you see them again ?  In six months, would they remain in your life ?  If not, then they are more correctly "workplace acquaintances" or professional collegues.    It's important to have good solid relationships within the workplace, but it's also important not to mistake these connections as friendships, because often they are not.

                My accountant, my financial advisors, my doctors and our insurance agent have all been with us for many years.  I know some of them socially, and when our youngest son died, most of them dropped everything to attend his funeral.   However, these may still be people to whom you are a valued client, they still may not really be your friend.

                 Friends are people in which you can confide, and in whom such confidence is not misplaced.  They are people who would endure inconvenience and discomfort if you had troubles.   Relatives can sometimes be friends, but often they are not really your friends. We can't choose our relatives, but we can choose our friends.

                  When I was in high school, we all recognized the syndrome of the friend who pretended to be, but when the going got tough, sold us out for one reason or another.  This was the friend who dated your boyfriend after you and he took a break.    We called these people false friends, but my kids call them frenemies.   These are not just restricted to high school.  They exist in all walks of life, in all occupations,  and in all age groups.  Sometimes people inadvertently betray us, and sometimes, they do it deliberately.

                We can have many acquaintances in life, but most of us have few true friends.  With difficult times ahead it is very important to know which is which.    Remember that friends know your political affiliations.  They know where you bank.  They usually know what you have and what your weak points are.  They know that your town requires a septic tank be pumped every five years and that you haven't had your pumped in seven.   They probably know enough to effectively perpetrate identity theft.  They certainly could inadvertently mention personal information of yours to someone who could betray you.   Most of them would never do such a thing, but do they know enough not to mention your new car to another friend ?   Do they know enough not to mention where you keep your safe and that you have one ?  Something said quite innocently to another could be devastating to you.  Good friends can be a godsend whereas you can be left destroyed by a bad friend whom you have misjudged.    A male friend of ours found that his wife had been having an affair with his best friend, for years !   Another friend of ours found that the friend who was supposedly giving his son a great job reference, was actually providing a bad one.  We are vulnerable when opening ourselves to friends.

               If the world became even more frightening than it is just now, would your friends keep you safe ?
Would your friends who have the room,  let you stay with them following a flood or an earthquake ?    When food or incentives are given by government for turning in those with a food stockpile, would your friends or neighbors turn you in ?   How much do they know about your stores and supplies?  How much do they know about your legal firearms and where they are ?  Have you ever unwisely said to them that you "would never turn in your firearms to the federal government" if they ever called for them ?  This would be an unwise comment to make.

                One of my friends once told me that she is a good friend to us because I have always been a good friend to her.  I think this is indeed part of it.  I have always tried to be a good friend.  Like most people on Earth, I have fallen short from time to time, mostly through errors of omission or by being too busy to be present enough during their trials of life.  However, at times, I have indeed been a good friend.

               Keep in mind that no matter how close you believe your friend to be, and how honorable you think he/she is, that once private information is provided to them, it can't simply be called back. Once private information is out there, it's out of the box and can't be put back.  This means that you should be much more careful about what type of information you reveal to friends or on the internet and especially in social media.  Keep in mind that in a couple of hours, a person searching us with only a name can amass quite a little dossier on all of us.  Make sure that this is very little information, for many reasons.

This is an uplifting song to help counter the somber tone of this post

Casting Crowns                                                             "Thrive"