Reaching Midlife Bachelor Equilibrium
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Appreciate your friends. Good friends are a priceless gift. Never overlook the value of a good friendship because often it is extremely difficult to replace an existing friendship with a new one. Sometimes our friends are very different from us – and that is fine. Just because someone is different from you, or behaves differently than you doesn’t mean they cannot be a great friend. Some of my best friends are contractors – and I’m a high tech manager … two worlds completely apart. But my friends and I share many core beliefs about people in general … and about having fun. Most of my friends have been my friends since I was a teenager, or even earlier. [Loser Mike and I have been friends since fourth grade, for example.] I could never replace one of my long-term friends with anyone who has lived through the same non-work-related life experiences … there is no one else qualified! Sometimes when my friends do really stupid things, my girlfriend asks me, “Why are you still friends with that guy?” or “Why don’t you stop talking to him?” My answer is always the same – “He’s my friend, and I love him.” I can without question say that I would do absolutely anything for my friends (except maybe commit a crime).
This brings up an interesting point – what do you do when a girlfriend tells you she doesn’t want you hanging around with a particular friend of yours? She wants your friendship to stop with someone. What do you do? Hell – I’ve been down both sides of that road before … so I can tell you with confidence that you should preserve the friendship, but also try to appease the woman. I say “preserve the friendship” because (as I’ve said) good friendships are a priceless gift that should never be discarded.
I’ll rehash a story from elsewhere in this site to help drive this point home. Remember my old girlfriend, Regina, who insisted that I not be friends with Krista? Well I complied at the time, and lost a very dear friend in the process. Four months later, Regina was history – and so still was my friendship with Krista gone. The moral to the story is – your friends are your friends … and chances are likely that they will be around a lot longer than any girlfriend, so don’t make stupid choices like I did in this case.
What about my good buddy, Greg – the one who is married to Tiffany? Tiffany hates me – mostly because her husband was my best friend, and she couldn’t stand him spending time with or paying attention to anyone but her. [Think “attention whore” to the extreme.] Several years ago, Tiffany insisted that Greg stop being my friend – and I’ll always remember when he called me, and told me that he had “to break up our friendship.” “What the fuck – are you fucking crazy?” was my first response. He went on to explain that as a religious man, his marriage and wife had to take priority – and that her wishes needed to be respected … and so that was why he was doing this. The speech I basically gave him in return went something like this – I told him that long after that jealous bitch is gone, I’ll still be there for him as a friend … that I forgive him for the bullshit he perpetrates … and that he should consider what the next ridiculous thing she will ask him to do might be. At the time, he said that was all fine – and that he understood why I was angry and all, and he wished me the best with my life. Several months went by, and I wound up hearing from Greg – this time she told him that she wanted his father out of their lives … because she thought his dad was an alcoholic and a mooch. Friends are friends, and family is family – but should a wife have the ability to make choices like that? Hell no – religion or no religion, the whole idea was crazy … and thank goodness Greg realized it before too much time went by. The approach he successfully shifted to was one where he kept his friendship with me, and his relationship with his father separate from his wife … in other words, he would still hang out with us (separately from his wife). And he made sure not to spend too much time with us – so that his wife didn’t get too jealous. My advice to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend who feels the need to choose or approve your friends – don’t let her! Negotiate a solution so that everyone is reasonably happy.
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