Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lost Friend

Verrazano Narrows Bridge,
Brooklyn, NY

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you.
 You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
Bob Marley 

Twice in my life, I've learned that business colleagues are truly nothing more than just that. There's a difference between a friend and an acquaintance.  My wife reminds me of that fact. She tells me that while I want friendship there are many who can't give me back the same. She warns me of the disappointment that follows when I set my expectations too high.

These acquaintances vanish almost as soon as the door closes behind you on your way out of the corporate world. They cease to believe that you exist. Fearful that the same fait awaits them communication between you diminishes exponentially each month out. It's a painful lesson to witness. But some refuse to comprehend what they do. After a while they simply don't bother to return your call in hopes that you will fade away.

A friend of mine had this discussion once. He had the habit of antagonizing his friends. One day, I said to him, "Daman, you are a very big man. Are you planning to be cremated? If not, then you need to think about the fact that you will require quite a few pall bearers."

It was a fact that at the rate he was losing friends, I would be the only one left to attend his funeral. In fact, it would fall on me to be his only pall bearer. Given that scenario, I told him that I would have to put his casket on skates. My friend got my message and he and I have remained close friends ever since. In fact, he has made an effort to remain friends with those that he had parted company with.

Fears, egos, and at times jealousy stand in the way of friendship. The behavior of some truly offends me. They trash the value of friendship because of their own insecurity. As humans, we need each other to sustain ourselves. If each of us stops interacting with each other our complete economy fails. Whether we like it or not we are interdependent.

In fourth grade, a teacher and a parent collaborated so that my closest friend and I were never ever again in the same class together. When my friend told me this account he added that the teacher felt that I was a bad influence on him and had told his mother so. This remains a painful story to tell. It was my first lesson on this subject. The wound however has never fully healed.

We all seek friendship, but in the end we should realize that we are at risk that some friendship will cause hurt and suffering. Choose which ones are worth suffering for.

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