I’m not the best friend in the world. I know this straight up, and I’m not too proud to pretend otherwise. I rarely answer phone calls. I’m terrible at making time for others, far too often. I’m absolutely awful at keeping up.
But on the flip side, I do think I’m a pretty good friend, overall. I never break dates, unless there are issues with emergencies or what not. I’m honest (sometimes to a fault). I try to give thoughtful gifts, at the appropriate times. I mostly stay out of business that isn’t mine, except when asked.
But even moreso, I try very hard to be a decent person, especially to my friends. I am considerate of their space and property. I make no assumptions about things that I am welcome to do or use. I try to leave things the way I found them.
I don’t think any of these are exceptional behaviors. In fact, this is the least I think that people should expect from me, or anyone else.
Like anyone else, I get angry, even at my friends. They’re not perfect, and neither am I. But I tell my friends when they’re doing something that bothers me; I expect the same of them. Open communication and honesty are the cornerstones of any relationship in my world, much less a friendship.
And it saddens me to see any of my friends getting taken advantage of, or mistreated, or being on the receiving end of inconsiderate, self-centered behavior. There is very little that angers me in the world; you can, for the most part, do or say anything to or about me, and it’s water off this duck’s back. But don’t fuck with my friends; while I’m perfectly aware that any and all of them are well-capable of taking care of themselves, I still get a little protective. It’s the curse of being the oldest of four kids, I guess.
And I won’t do anything directly, because most of the time, I’m peripherally involved in or aware of the situations going on around me. For the most part, my life is soap opera-free; I cut ties with ninety percent of the dramatic people in my life years ago, and made a promise to myself that I would avoid such people as much as possible in the future. But my friends are grown-ups, and if they choose to befriend those types that I feel are best off left alone — well, it’s not place to tell them otherwise, and so I don’t. But when pressed hard enough, I will step in and provide a defense, even sometimes at cost to myself.
I’ve watched my brother James get badly mistreated by an ex, and it infuriated me repeatedly. I let it go, as it wasn’t my place to do anything about it (particularly if he wasn’t doing anything about it), but it still would creep into my field of vision every so often. It’s happened to many of my friends, in fact, and I have to keep reminding myself that the only person that can change things is them.
But it still makes my skin crawl: to think that there are people walking this earth, breathing the same air as me, who would call themselves your friend and then treat you as nothing more than a tool for their convenience. I know we’ve all had rough lives. Some of us weren’t raised very well or taught how to be decent people outside of our own gains, but I’ll bet we all know the Golden Rule, yeah?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
It’s really about that simple. To pretend otherwise is just selfish and ungrateful, and eventually, that sort of behavior will come back to haunt you — whether you accept accountability or not. And who will you turn to then, when you’ve pushed everyone who cares about you away?
But on the flip side, those people do serve a really good purpose: they make me look like the greatest of friend, even in spite of all my faults.
See? It’s all about perspective.