I wonder about friends. We all do. Is five too many or too few? We let them down, they reciprocate. The occasional argument alchemises friend to foe. The most difficult situation is when feuding friends need us to take a side. Agree with the one you’ll lose the other, stand on the fence you’ll lose them both.
Fortunately, the passage of time dissolves friendships and rightfully so. It is nice to have known someone, and the relationship ends without ill will. Some will enter into marriage, others change their lives, becoming rich, poor or indifferent to the past. I like the feeling of not knowing how someone’s life turned out.
Occasionally a friendship is bonded with emotional superglue. Nothing will separate or break the relationship. In fact, there will be friendships which have broken close relationships. Marriages have ended due to the interference of long time friends. I would like to write a story about this. Lots of pleasure is to be enjoyed from working out how to murder an ex-wife’s friends, who’d encouraged her into divorce.
When re- listening to interviews I have made over the years, I often gain further insights into the interviewee’s psyche. It is possible I’ve become more astute or aware of the minutiae of human dialogue. However, for the purpose of this essay one observation is; it is not only the situation which hurts. It is the ‘misjudgement’ of those involved which causes much of the pain. Our inability to decipher people’s real intent is something we ignore at our peril. Our associations and experiences define our character, and it does not take very long before a few ‘knocks’ undermine our progress.
I knew a woman who enjoyed commenting ‘I do not trust anyone’ of course her words were directed to me. She did not dare risk saying ‘Ian I do not like or trust you’ I those days I was a challenging and not too nice a man. I could have caused a few problems if I’d realised the truth. Her husband was the same, a two-faced man who also did not like me, in truth he probably hated me. The reason I write about this is at the time I was young and not as sharp as I believed myself to be. In fact, I was the bluntest knife in the box. I reflect carefully upon the way people talk. If they are talking in riddles, it is most often because they’re not able to speak the truth. Incidentally, the couple mentioned above were two of the most dishonest people I have known.
I was the failure, for not realising some people will smile, laugh, make out they are a friend when truth to tell they hate you. These people resent the air you breath, believing you have not right to it. If I had known the way to gauge people, goodness life would have been a whole lot easier. The magic questions are ‘Would I want this individual as a friend?’ ‘Have I anything in common with this person’ ‘Do I need them in my life’ and during conversations I’d ask ‘Is this relevant to me?’ Try using these questions, see what happens, you may find them extremely helpful.
Friends? Yes, they are difficult to deal with. Remember or consider this; it is far easier to sift a man or woman out on initial meetings. It’s far harder to eliminate them without problems later. Hard lines? Bet your last penny on it!
Now don’t you start thinking ‘Ah! Old Ian’s had a few problems with a friend or two and he’s letting off steam on his WordPress post. I am not, those who know me realise I can be a complicated individual, it does not matter to me if I’m liked or not. I hope many who know me accept I am Ian Timothy, not someone else. It is an easy methodology to an enjoyable life, not to give a damn about anything much. Therefore if someone decides they do not like me, or my opinion, I happy for them to have their views. In fact, I’m happy if they are correct in their assessment of me. Nothing will stop me making my happiness. We do make our happiness, do not doubt it, we are master or mistress of love or hate. Our conscience decides the real truth, ignore it, and you will be within the shadows of uncertainty.
Over the last few weeks, some of my friends have been blown off course by events beyond their control. One terribly abused, I feel so helpless and unable to help her. Patricia’s companion Pete entered into his final sleep and Trish has shown an admirable strength in coping with her loss. I talk to Keith who lost his home and is beginning a new life at the age of 49. These are friends, real friends in tragic situations. I cannot help them, my goodness they help me.
I understand their unhappiness and, although unable to help them, I will spend a few minutes in conversation, tap a few words in a text. I may be unable to help; they know I am here. The uniqueness of this trio is they are continuing with their lives. They are not saying I am homeless, abused or heart-broken and my life is over. My friends are continuing with the hard journey. I learn from them and thank them for what they teach me from their resilience, fortitude and strength.
Today a man told me he was making money from buying stolen goods. He believed he was a friend of mine. I said that crime costs society billions. The cost of police, the courts, the prisons divert money from the needy. I do not care for the criminal; crime is a social disease which is accepted by many who claim the system and prisons are inhuman. Who could complain about a change of heart which demanded harder punishments, including long-term or even full life sentences, if their hospitals and treatment became better because of redirected funds? Removing the thief from society is far cheaper than attempting to show compassion, he does not respect you, far from it, he holds you in contempt.
The broken, abused and victim of the sin of theft are betrayed by the law, establishment and so-called charities. Who profits from neglect of the victim? The answer is the lawyers, establishment and criminals.
I said to the thief. ‘You are not my friend, and never can be. Your crimes betray every honest and hard working member of society.’ He was visibly hurt by my words.
The next time you watch and laugh with a criminal celebrity on a tv chat show. Remember how much his crime costs society. Hospitals, doctors, nurses and public housing all lose out because of crime. Maybe the criminal you admire was the one who prevented your father or mother being treated for cancer or the reason your housing benefit is less than it used to be. Solving and preventing crime costs society millions.
Pick your friends wisely. Some friends are not worth the effort. Admire the thief and criminal. Do as thy will. Remember this absolute truth, those who you allow into your life are empowered by your friendship. If they are a thief, you sanction their work. If they are a parasite, you encourage their greed. You will demean your purpose with false compassion. You lie to yourself by accepting the way of those who are thieves. Those who steal your time and give nothing back. Those who do not respect or thank you for your efforts. Those who borrow and not repay. Enfold them within your arms if you wish, remember they are death to truth, and you empower them, by sanctioning their crimes.
My friends empower me. Not for their wealth, intelligence or knowledge. They empower me by their fortitude, determination to be happy and find peace. Even within their pain they smile, continue to work, struggle with their lives. To me they are my mentors, there is no guru, intellectual, or counselling ‘expert’ who can come near. Not a one. In their pain and poverties, they have wealth beyond price. My friends are real human beings; they are teachers beyond compare.