When I was 17, a group of friends and I were at a burger joint in Richmond - I was living in Berkeley at the time - and we were sitting at this table eating, laughing and joking around. And I was being loud and obnoxious (imagine that) and I must had said something easy to misinterpret because all of the sudden this guy at the next table jumped up and yelled, "What did you just say to me, nigga?"
"I didn't say anything to you," I said.
"Nigga, I heard you." Misinterpret said.
"Nigga, you heard wrong," I said
"Oh," said Misinterpret, "is that right? Well, check this out. I'm gonna fuck you up and I'm gonna fuck up everyone at this table that is down with you. Now, who's down with this nigga?"
Every single one of my friends including my ride stood up and left.
I sat there and watched Misinterpret eat his food. Then I watched him leave the restaurant and get in his car and wait for me to come out. I sat there for what felt like forever.
Finally, some other guy who was there eating and saw everything offered to take me home. Apparently Misinterpret knew better than to mess with My Ride.
My Ride dropped me off where I was living at the time and I told the lady of the house what happened to me.
After hearing my story she asked, "what kind of person are you that your friends would leave you for dead?"
I can't lie. I was stunned. I was convinced that my crew was a bunch of ass-clowns and yet here I was being asked about my character. As if something about ME was the cause of all of this.
So I thought about it for days. Days in which not one of the people who left me at the burger joint called to see if I was okay. After a lot of reexamining how I have treated and continued to treat people, and several bouts with denial, I realized that I had horrible friends because I was a horrible friend.
From that day forward I knew that if I wanted great friends, I had to be a great friend. I had to be the kind of friend for whom other people would be willing to get "fucked up."
And believe the same adage applies to relationships as well. If we want great partners, we have to be great partners. We can't be horrible partners and expect an amazing partnership. It doesn't work like that. If we want to be in a great relationship, we have to great in the relationship.
And when we get left for dead - figuratively I hope - we have to be willing to stop and ask ourselves, "what kind of person am I?"
Remember. No always. No never.
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Filed under: For the Self