Three valuable Friendship Lessons

Stop me if I’ve written about this before…or just read anyway.  Recently a friend reached out to me about Mutual_Friend who was being a twatcycle to them.  I listened for about 20 seconds before interrupting:  “oh sorry to hear, I’m sure it will work itself out.”

If you don’t know me, that’s not that kind of thing I usually say.  I’m usually a good listener when friends want to vent.  That’s a 100% US Grade A Choice blow off remark.  But I had to use it and I think my friend got the point, though they probably have no idea why I used it.lopsided

The thing is, some time ago, Mutual_Friend was being a twatcycle to me.  And Friend wasn’t exactly sympathetic to my situation.  I guess it didn’t occur to them that if Mutual_Friend was being a twatcycle to me, Mutual_Friend could do the same to them.

Lesson:  you don’t necessarily have to take a side when a friend vents about a mutual friend, but you do have to listen and offer some empathy.

They say You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.—from The Sayings of Chairman Malcolm

Another friend reached out to me because he is trying to rent his condo in the West Loop.  He asked me to forward his link to the apartment.  In the days before Facebook that would have been a blast email to my address book.  Today that is either cutting and pasting a link or hitting the share button.

Any of these are help I can provide from the comfort of my couch yet I’m not compelled to do any of them.  Because when I was trying to sell my condo, this friend was not among the 6 people who shared the listing.

To be sure, I have no illusion that forwarding a link to a reality listing on FB is going to yield a buyer.  But what it does is show your friend that you care enough about them to generate the warm fuzzies by doing something that won’t benefit you in the slightest but earns you potential brownie points in the future.

People will post cat videos and share stupid statuses that are so fake, Snopes sheds a tear every time someone searches for it, but they won’t do something like sharing your news unless it benefits them in some direct way.

Lesson:  pay it forward, especially if the level of effort is so minimal you can literally do it from the comfort of your couch.

Finally, I have been skipping some social events and using Moose and Squirrel as an excuse.  Most of these are hard to make but there are a few that I could have sucked it up and made it to.  But with most of the hosts, I have over a decade of history where they skipped my dog’s birthday party but insisted I come to their cat’s wedding.  years of last-minute cancellations or not wanting to travel to my far off where the brown line goes to die neck of the woods.

Lesson: If you want people to care about your “cat’s wedding” you have to care about their “dog’s birthday party.”

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