…Friends

Written by BG Howard

May 24, 2023

A peculiar thing occurred recently that rather caught me off guard which resulted with my questioning the very moral fiber of who I am as a person. I’ve often said it’s an unfortunate situation that causes one to question the circumstances but there’s something horribly wrong when anything prompts a person to question themselves.

To the point of my rambling; I was occasioned to be at the market Saturday when an individual who obviously recognized me from somewhere approached. He was accompanied by another gentleman that appeared, not to be stereotypical, but the guy honestly came across as quite intimidating. The first person summoned me to get my attention and the two of them began abruptly walking over to where I stood like a deer in headlights.

As the individuals approached I could hear the guy who’d called my name talking about the fact we were long-time friends. In all honesty, I was still trying to figure out how either of them knew me and actually anticipated things would get a lot worse. I don’t know whether it was a case of heightened paranoia or my just being overly sensitive. Truth is, I can’t even remember the last time anyone would have had reason to exhibit any aggressive tendencies toward me or vice versa. (I seriously need to lay off the espionage movies)

At any rate, the two men were posted within three feet of me in what seemed like seconds with the moment playing out in my head like a bad scene from a poorly scripted television drama. The smaller of the two extended his hand and introduced himself as “Randy” while pointing to his larger-than-life friend and announcing him as “John.” (For the sake of reference)

Randy instinctively began talking and totally overlooked the expression on my face that confirmed I had no idea who he was. At the realization that I didn’t recognize him, it was as though he became offended and then insisted on the issue of our long-term friendship to the point of eventually logging a few choice words that I’d rather leave to the readers’ imaginations. By the time the unfortunate incident had concluded Randy was all but yelling at me for not knowing him and his companion was doing all he could to talk some sense into the, now irate “friend.”

The situation proved quiet unnerving as I do sincerely make my best effort to live according to scripture which states, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 KJV) Given the reaction Randy had displayed, I found myself wondering whether those who do know him are as reluctant to confirm the friendship.

It then occurred to me that there are so many people who randomly toss the term “friend” around like it’s a blanket that covers every relationship or association. In truth, the label proves in many cases to simply be a point of reference for a mere acquaintance. There are, I imagine, a number of individuals in all our lives from whom we’d choose to distance ourselves if circumstances allowed. Factually speaking, there are a few people who’ve labeled me as “friend” and I’m honestly a little uneasy at the implication.

The difficulty lies in not knowing what a person represents or how he/she lives which might be something with which one doesn’t wish to be affiliated. How many people do you think would have openly acknowledged close association with the likes of someone like Adolph Hitler? There are rare situations when a person doesn’t mind befriending an individual who holds to a different standard or unique moral compass.

In most cases, however, the old adage that “Birds of a feather flock together” is enough to dissuade what we interpret as detrimental alliances. The structure of a good friendship is something that will invariably prove itself over time as people who don’t have common interests, similar standards and morals usually lack the capacity to bond with one another to that extent. It’s the equivalent of a couple who have absolutely nothing in common taking the initiative to contemplate marriage and the idea of living out their lives together.

As exampled by the majority of older couples with whom I’ve had a chance to speak, they list the best ingredient for a successful marriage as friendship. Those who have maintained relationships with their good friends seem to enjoy the most blissful unions as all the counseling and therapy in the world is to no avail if two people simply don’t speak the same language. By interpretation, to maintain any healthy relationship requires people to, first, be friends. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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