Friendship First

I still have friends, who went to school with me.  We hung out together and had fun for more than 60 years.  We don’t see each other very often anymore, but some of us stay in touch.

I still have friends who I was stationed with in Alaska or Germany.  We still see each other or stay in contact occasionally via e-mail.  We’ve all been friends for more than 50 years.

I still have friends from jobs I’ve held.  Some of those friendships go back to the Telephone Company 40 years ago.

What do they all these friends have in common?  They’re on the Internet.  It’s a great way to stay in touch with those who may be far away.  It does have its pitfalls, though.  One of them is “social media.”

Many of my friends helped me get home when I was drunk.  That’s only fair since many of them helped me get drunk in the first place.  My life has been a long party, and I have thousands of great memories of good times with all my friends.  I’ve actually had millions of good times, but my memory isn’t so good anymore.  The point is that my friends mean a lot to me, and I appreciate what their friendship has meant to me over many decades.

So why is it that my immediate reaction is “What an asshole…” when I read something they posted on Facebook that differs from my own political opinion?  For decades I never knew or cared what political party they belonged to.  We just enjoyed each other’s company.  For year’s my parents would cancel out each other’s vote in the Presidential election, as one was a Republican and the other a Democrat.  They finally agreed on a Conservative Goldwater, of all people.  They never fought about their political differences, though.  They never even argued about it.  Everyone was entitled to their own opinion.

But not anymore.  Politics has become a great divider.  It’s ironic when you think about it.  About 150,000,000 votes were cast in the last Presidential election.  So, everyone’s vote actually represented 0.00000067% of the final decision.  Therefore, looking at it in that mathematical perspective, who you voted for, made practically no difference in the final outcome of the election.  Why is it such a major determinant of who we choose as friends?

The folks at Psychology Today came up with a list of 13 qualities essential to friendship.

  1. I am trustworthy.
  2. I am honest with others.
  3. I am generally very dependable.
  4. I am loyal to the people I care about.
  5. I am easily able to trust others.
  6. I experience and express empathy for others.
  7. I am able to be non-judgmental.
  8. I am a good listener.
  9. I am supportive of others in their good times
  10. I am supportive of others in their bad times.
  11. I am self-confident.
  12. I am usually able to see the humor in life.
  13. I am fun to be around.

We each have an area where we can improve as friends.  I’m gonna start with trait #7, and see if I can get through a few more political posts on Facebook without cringing.  Decades of friendship must be remembered and taken into consideration, before I scream “What an Asshole” at the screen.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

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