Sunday, January 17, 2010

To Keep A Friend...

True friendships are rare and beautiful. Some are unconditional, while most are very conditional. There are friendships that are easy-going and ones that are very complicated. I used to develop friendships that were “too close”; close enough to the point of where they felt too comfortable blurting out the most outrageous comments or opinions without thoughts of repercussions on my end, and of course those people who have tried making the friendship more intimate than it already was, platonically. Through many trials and errors, I have learned to to keep a select few close and far many at arm’s length.

Boundaries. It sounds like a rule book when you say it, but, regardless, each friendship needs boundaries of many levels. One of my biggest boundaries is mixing friendships with money or business. If they are already in the same line of work as me, then of course I’m going to be friends with them - but I never mix friends before business. A few years back I had lent some money to someone who was just starting off in New York. Long story short, she ended up resenting me because she felt as though I “owned” her. That wasn’t the case though, it was simply a loan to where she had to sign a promissory note of paying the money back. This was my first time doing this for anyone. Before that incident, I had always told people, if you’re going to lend out money, you might as well think of it as a gift because most likely, you will not receive that back. Luckily, the friend paid me back, however very grudgingly. Inevitably, the friendship ended. This person still resents me.

Through lessons learned, and not from being a stubborn sonnovabitch, you will never see me lending or giving money to a friend. Two reasons: 1. Because lending money, again, is a ‘no-no’ because that person will resent you. 2. If you give money to a friend, most likely they will ask again and possibly take advantage of your good nature, which will end up in your resenting them as an outcome. If you want to really keep your friends, generosity starts by being a “good friend”, listening to your friend, being there for emotional support and making sure you’re there when they need you. That’s all I ask of my friends and expect no more. My financial charity goes to anonymous poor people or disaster type of situations - not friends. However, if a friend needs a place to stay, something to eat or drink, my home is always open to them. This is as far as I go.

And that’s the best way to keep a friend in my book.