I’m having Christmas drinks with Paul, who I’ve always considered a good friend, but frankly I haven’t seen him since February. Top of mind I am not. There is a cost to having a friend, it’s an investment in time and energy for which there is no certain payback.
Paul is a Labrador retriever, he’s one of these people you can’t help but like. A big smile as you approach, tongue hanging out, he slobbers all over you, you feel like he’s honestly glad to see you. But he hasn’t invested much in our friendship, during a particularly hard year so boo hoo.
Paul’s priorities are in the right place. He tends to his family, he’s a great husband, a super father. He worries about his extended family as well. He also has a wide swath of friends vying for his time. A regular Mr. Popular. But given a choice, his family always wins in any bid for his attention. I can’t say I disrespect that.
As this was our first 1:1 I gave him the facts on the Peter incident. As I was telling him the logistics, I found myself filling with absolute rage. Seething actually. I had violated my cardinal rule, people are what you initially think they are. 6 years ago when I met Peter, my immediate reaction, this guy is flake. And he was ultimately.
After several years hanging out together, I made the mistake of moving Peter to my “friend” box. It’s an élite category I have. It’s part of my German heritage. Once you’re a friend, you’re always a friend and I will move heaven and earth to do whatever I can for you. You need me, I’m there, no questions. Yes friends can squabble, bitch n’ bicker and we all have our pro’s and con’s. But you kiss and make up, being a friend is a durable good. I don’t have many friends, membership is limited and there is no application form.
Yes, I know many people, hundreds, if not thousands . I’ll hang out, have a beer, have a good yuck yuck. Come to your house for dinner, play golf, do whatever. But you are simply “someone I know”. Not a friend.
I calmed down. The Peter incident has made me re-evaluate my time investments. Paul as well has helped. I’m calling my parents and brother more often. With he upcoming move back to the ‘burbs, I’m gonna spend more time with my kids. While family is a higher priority than friends, I’m also calling people who’ve invested their time in me, letting them know I appreciate them. You can never say you appreciate someone often enough, thank them to the point of embarrassment and give them your most valuable of assets – your time.
TC Update: Tiger Puff has been purring quite a bit lately. He recognizes we have to be together and some of the self-imposed challenges and mainly that he’s going to have to make not only a sacrifice but also a leap of faith. Watch this space.