Tag Archives: friends

Real friends don’t do boundaries?

Fake Friends vs. Real Friends
Fake Friends vs. Real Friends

The above image is something an acquaintance shared on Facebook today.  The text reads as follows:

Fake Friends – Never ask for food..

Real Friends – Are the reason you have NO food.

Fake Friends – Call your parents Mr/Mrs.

Real Friends – Call your parents DAD/MOM.

Fake Friends – Have never sen you cry.

Real Friends – Cry with you.

Fake Friends – Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.

Real Friends – Keep your stuff so long they forget it’s yours.

Fake Friends – Know about you…..

Real Friends – Could write a book about you.

FAKE FRIENDS – Would knock on your front door..

Real Friends – Walk right in and say “I’m home”.

Fake Friends – Will help you when you fall over.

Real Friends – Will jump on top of you and shout “DOG_PILE”.

Fake Friends – Are around for a while..

Real Friends – Are for life.

Fake Friends – Say “Love you.” in a joking manner.

Real Friends – Say “I love you” and they mean it.

Fake Friends – Will read this.

Real Friends – Will steal this.

I get that it’s trying to explain how real friends are people who are close to you, but some of the items in the list just creep me out.  It’s as if the image’s creators think there’s no such thing as boundaries between good friends.

To be frank, no one who is not living with me is entitled to walk into my home (in which case it would be our home) without knocking.  In fact, everyone is encouraged to call me and let me know they’re coming.  I may not be in.  Or I may not feel like having company.  Even my closest friends don’t get to override those times when I need or want my privacy.  (And fortunately, my friends understand this.)

And that whole thing about real friends being the reason one has no food?  That sounds more like a moocher than a friend to me.  Yes, I’m more than happy to share my food (and just about anything else) with my friends.  But I also expect my friends to understand there’s a limit to what I can share.  In the end, someone who eats me out of house and home isn’t a friend.

Same thing with that “keeping your stuff so long that they forget it’s yours” business.  A true friend respects me.  That includes respecting my property.

What this image describes isn’t friendship.  What it describes is a dangerous relationship with someone who doesn’t respect the other person.


More musings on choosing friends.

[Content Note:  Homophobia, problematic and difficult friendships.]

Just my sense of humor, too.
Just my sense of humor, too.

I have to admit that Sunday’s post about ending friendships was not a topic I chose out of thin air.  It was primarily inspired by the day last week when I was looking through my blog visitor statistics and discovered that someone had found my blog through the search phrase “being gay and having a homophobic friend.”  My immediate reaction to reading that was to think of the old adage:  With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Rather then immediately responding to that query and the subject of dealing with homophobic friends, I decided to write Sunday’s post and talk about the liberation I found when I realized I’m allowed to choose my friends and even terminate current friendships if I feel it’s the best choice for my life.  After all, when dealing with a friend who is homophobic and making my life miserable because of hir homophobia, having the option to walk away altogether is a powerful thing.  Whether a person is virulently homophobic by spouting hateful slurs or merely inundating me with subtle microagressions like meeting every mention of my love life with cold and disapproving silence, that thing can get wearisome.  And it’s good to know that I don’t have to put up with it for the sake of some idealistic notion about “friendship” and “friends are forever1.”

Mind you, that doesn’t  mean that I can or should immediately kick every person out of my life.  Sometimes, there really are things about the friendship that make it worth sticking it out.  (But I get to decide whether that’s really the case.)  Sometimes, other factors require me to keep that person in my life.  Perhaps a given “friend” is really a relative that I simply will not be able to avoid or cut off all communication with without making family functions horribly awkward.  Maybe we’re on the same sporting team or  involved in the same project and I’m unwilling to give that up in order to avoid them2.  There are other reasons as well.

But knowing that I ultimately have the option to terminate a friendship with someone who cannot accept me for who I am — even if I decide that option is not a good choice in a particular situation — allows me to think of my many options of how to deal with such a person.

1As an aside, while searching for a graphic to include in Sunday’s post, I was disturbed by the sheer volume of images that promoted this “friendship is forever/never let go of a friend if you’re a real friend” thinking.

2I will note, however, that in such a scenario, I still have the power to limit my interactions with that person.  I may have to be cordial at team or group functions, but I don’t have to go beyond that.  Nor do I have to pretend we’re bosom buddies.  This is where it’s helpful to keep in mind that there are not just friends, but also acquaintances.

It’s all about how you use it

I have to admit that I have a strange relationship with money. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell anyone — or even myself — that I don’t like having money. If my boss was to stop by my desk tomorrow and ask me if I’d like a raise, I’m not going to say no. After all, I like being able to spend money on various things.

However, I don’t feel like a slave to money, either. I do understand that ultimately, the only money I really need is the money to buy the necessities for staying alive. Anything after that is gravy. And I love my gravy.

However, I’ve also realized that how I spend my excess money is extremely important to me. I’m not the kind to become obsessed with buying the latest gadget or must have thing. Nor am I obssessed with keeping up with the latest fashion (not that men’s fashions change nearly as drastically as women’s fashions, anyway). That’s not my style at all.

Granted, I like to shop for quality when I do buy things. So when I go out shopping for new work clothes, I’m as liable to hit something a bit more expensive than Wal-Mart or even Target. (Besids, those stores often stop carrying clothes at one size below what I need, or only carry clothes my size that are horribly tacky.) And when I bought a laptop a couple months ago, I spent the extra money to get one I’d really like.

But at the same time, I don’t care to buy a lot of “stuff” just to have “stuff.” For example, a couple of years ago, I began to re-evaluate my attitude towards computer games. At the time, I was buying a new computer game every other week. I’d play each game I bought for about two weeks (often never mastering them or beating them if they had a quest mode of play), then get bored with it and never touched it again. As I noticed this pattern, I really asked if the time I spent playing each game was really worth the $40 a title I was paying. I decided that it wasn’t, so I’ve changed my game buying habits. I still buy the occasional computer game (and still often play them for a couple of weeks), but it’s something I only do every couple months or so. I found it hasn’t detracted from my life at all, and I’ve certainly found more enjoyable uses for the money I’m saving.

On the other hand, I think one of the best spenditures of money I’ve ever made was back when my niece, Alyssa, was two years old. Disney had re-released “The Little Mermaid” just before Christmas, so there was a merchandizing craze going on at the time. During my Christmas shopping, I had found a four foot long stuffed Flounder (the character from the movie, not a real flounder). I decided to buy it for Alyssa for Christmas.

Christmas Eve, my sister and her family had dinner with my parents and I at my parents’ home (I was living at home at the time). My sister decided to let Alyssa open one gift that evening after dinner. Because of an incident that had happened when my sister and her family were heading up from New Jersey, we all agreed she should unwrap Flounder.

I cannot begin to do justice to the experience of watching Alyssa open her gift. When she finally got the wrapping paper off and looked into the eyes of a Flounder almost as big as she was, she let out a shrill screech. The next five minutes, all this little girl could do was hug her new friend tight and screech, “He’s so cute!” It was a beautiful sight, and I can’t think of a time where I got so much joy out of $40 I had spent.

In many ways, money is more about making my life comfortable. It’s about creating moments like that, where I get to add to and share in other people’s pleasure. Whether I’m buying presents for my nieces and nephews, treating my friends to a meal, or giving an overworked and underpaid server an outrageously generous tip, I enjoy seeing the smiles it can bring to people’s faces.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly be used to create situations that encourage happiness.