I've thought a lot about friendships this week.
The words of Dr. James C. Farrar -- dear Coach Farrar -- keep coming back. He said his daddy told him this early in his life and Coach mentioned it often in our conversations. It was in his obit last November:
"In this life you will have a lot of acquaintances but few friends, and you make damn sure you know the difference!"
The wisdom to know the difference. Last line of the Serenity Prayer.
So, through years of school, athletics, journalism and life, I have lots of acquaintances, or on Facebook "friends." It's been nice to reacquaint with many of them.
The real friends ... still sorting them out.
Some of my blogs are "memory lane," some are opinion, some are frivolous, and this one -- like some others -- is personal philosophy and introspection. Feel free to think, "uh-oh."
As I was talking with Bea about writing this, she pointed out, "You need to define friendship." OK, I'll give it a shot
Real friendship is trust, sharing, loyalty. It's give-and-take, mutual (not one-sided). It's the right to disagree, and be civil about it. It's respect. It's time-tested.
I've written about some of the people who I consider true friends, who go back years and years, who know a lot about me and I know a lot about them. I'll write about a few more in upcoming blogs.
There are many more people of whom I'm very fond. Went to school with some; some were coaches or people in athletics; others were in journalism. I like some of them a lot, and I'm an open book ... to an extent. But they don't know some of the intimacies of my life, nor do they need to.
And then there are some who, at one time, I thought were close friends. Turns out they weren't.
In these blogs, I try to be mostly positive. Not much use being negative or critical; been there much too often in life. But this one, I'm afraid, is going to turn critical.
I worked with some jerks over the years, or I thought they were jerks. They might've thought I was a jerk, and they were often right. I worked with some selfish, self-serving, self-important, myopic, arrogant, childish, braggarts, and even crude "acquaintances." They were fools, or foolish.
(Hey, I know I fit some of these categories at times. I love to brag on my kids and my grandkids, and even my wife sometimes. Dang right, the blog is self-serving.)
Some were co-workers; some were bosses. No question, some had talent -- big talent. Some were mediocre. Some didn't belong in journalism.
Some weeded themselves out pretty quickly; I knew they weren't friends. Some I attacked verbally, if not physically (I've had far too many abusive moments; it's a real negative). Some took a hike out of journalism ... for everyone's good.
I was naive to think a few were real friends, and they were good friends at some point, some for years. They did me some big favors; I did them some big favors. And I admired their talent ... for their time.
But things change, people grow apart. I hesitate to say that I outgrew them; that's too judgmental. I just reached the point where what they were saying or doing did not interest me anymore ... at all.
And so, what prompted this piece, is that a friend-turned-acquaintance split with me this week. Long overdue. I haven't been comfortable with the relationship for a long time. I'm not into a non-stop ego trip.
Nothing new was forthcoming from this person ... for years. It was a strain to endure the conversations or e-mails. It was time to move on, for both of us. That's fine with me.
Let's just say our values, our priorities are no longer the same. The test of time just wasn't met. Sometimes you no longer care.
You put yourself out there, you put your views out there, you tell people what you think ... not everyone is going like it, or agree. I learned that 45 years ago at the start of my journalism career, and I realize it's part of writing this blog.
Time changes how you view some people, and often how they view you. And you find the wisdom to know the difference in yourself.