▼The Fog of Friendship, Family & Companionship▼
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
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The following is the edited, upgraded version of an e-mail response to someone I once called a friend. It was first written in 2006 and contains unvarnished insights into my personality. Lest I forget: never assume people, friends, family, etc. are actually reading what you write. If you sit down and write, or spend time to reason face to face or over the telephone with people important to you and they either have little or nothing to say in substance about ALL or some of your concerns while offering you defensive vibes instead, you have a right to be suspicious.
Dedicated to my family and all in search of true friendship
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Now slow down turbo.
Before you agree with me, understand my boundaries and a little about my values. Because I do have lines. Lines that don't fence me inside a hopeless den or glass of solitude, aloof. No. Lines, I mean, that illustrate the inner peace and calm that makes me happier than the party animal or wealthy elite who has it all but still feels empty inside — even despite the poor's fleeting material destitution.
If my family member is wrong, he/she is wrong. Period. Ask my mother, my friends (definition provided in SP 2:-), siblings, mentees, and professional superiors (who include Judges, academics, janitors, corporate businessmen and women, street vendors and United Nations employees the world over) — all of who access my writings and work, which is why if you don't like what I do, getting your own ego, narcissism and penchant for negativity out of your own way; switching off or growing up and getting a life, isn't a bad idea. Afterwards, ask my ex-girlfriend (and/or ex-wife) whose family, right here in China, is still trying to send her back 3years later.
I don't play ego, unethical loyalty (nepotism and all its representations), passivity (particularly during crises), popularity contests, cliques, seniority and kissing people's behinds. I play respect and cherish all equally, without favor or prejudice. And if you know anyone who has worked with me and they have a big mouth or simply one who happens without passion or prejudice to be professionally recounting facts, they too will happily tell you about how it is possible to have people (Chinese too) and upper management "love", "demand" your return or "deeply respect you" in a workplace, on the basis of performance, principles, professionalism and a paradigm shift that occurs if one earnestly seeks and ceaselessly refines it, having inculcated it. Not your ego, emotions, or personal insecurities, which you mustn't wear on your sleeve lest it interfere with getting good work done. And so, I sleep well at night for the same reason Carl Fox admonishes his son thusly: "I don't go to bed with no whore, and I don't wake up with no whore. That's how I live with myself. I don't know how you do it", in the 1987 hit movie.
Compassion and the art of truly listening to people and getting to know them one at a time is not dead. It has just become so rare it's frustrating. Plus, it makes the few longsuffering practitioners driven by no selfish agendas, alienated. Which is OK. Because principled people will let you live and let live. Just remember to extend the courtesy and dignity, if at all it is in you to, as a so-called "refined" and "civilized" human being.
The most important thing to say about myself with regard to whatever friendship is or isn't, is that (while you do your thing and I do mine) I want nothing to do with pretenses and dishonesty; that if you consider yourself a friend, family, or companion, you must make yourself useful in all human endeavors. Anytime (or hope to God your so-called "friend" trusts you well enough to understand and/or respect your judgments or failures downstream. Otherwise, you're fake. And I deeply dislike fake people — especially the lurker/backstabbing/badmouthing type that try to bamboozle and hoodwink you, never realizing they are by time trap, the Pilgrims, and you as a "DOer", are Christopher Columbus.
I judge friendship based on your ability to call on me anytime of day or night when you're down, etc. and be certain that you'd receive my loving, meticulous care. I may be in a meeting or crisis (of my own) that I can't get out of. But the immediacy of the care and compassion you'd receive (from listening to taking clear, hands-on, solution-oriented steps) afterwards, whatever the situation you find yourself in, continued even after that initial call (i.e., follow-ups and all), should be reassuring enough. Meaning, I continue checking on you until I feel things are stable on your end. But again, slow down. Read the bold, blue, and fine print. I'm not done.
Heaven knows this is not theory. It is what I do, for many, without any expectation even of their friendship . Unconditional? You betcha.
Moreover, if I can't say the same about you, then I don't consider you a friend even though you may never know because respect for the individual is where all human relations begins, where I'm concerned. Disrespecting (badmouthing or backstabbing) people I haven't taken the time to study (i.e., paradigm shift) or understand deeply makes *me* a close-minded bum and a pretentious simpleton who thinks he is sophisticated. And God help me, where I fail to gravitate towards positive open-mindedness rather than stooping to the level of those who practice intolerance and duplicity by proxy. Such are those whose dubious ways shaped my childhood and meticulous personality.
The golden rule and Jesus' admonition to love God and our neighbor as ourselves being linchpins — for me at least — people will tell you explicitly or implicitly (as parts of this piece does); certainly, at the individual level, how *they* wish to be treated. To impose your views of how *they* should be treated in any friendship (my definition, below) is not only an insensitive and unwise bad business move but ultimately, irrational. Sounds too 'churchy', Dr. Phil-like, too Oprah-ish? Read the 14-page Breakthrough Ideas of 2010 in its entirety and then return and tell me how "foolish" or "jaded" you and your ilk think the folks at Harvard and other powerhouses of inventional wisdom are. If still not convinced, we'll visit the values and principles of the world's most admired organizations for an additional dash of reality.
People will show a certain intensity of care because they're in love with, or admire someone, etc. That is superficial, fake at times. Close observation and personal experience tells me or the keen observer this is often very easily based on momentary impulsive reciprocity. So, I don't believe in that kind of friendship albeit it is quite common.
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