Hard Lessons: 2. Not all friends are created equal

Not sure what the average number of people to have bailed out of jail is, nor the average number of countries from which people have called you for said bail money, but I’m pretty certain that I have exceeded both of those averages. As I explained to my niece, Samantha, the other day, when people are sitting in jail, they are mentally running down names on a list of everyone they know, like this:

  1. Who do I know that likes me well enough that I can call them at 3 o’clock in the morning?
  2. Which of those people is likely to be able to lay their hands on $500?
  3. Which of them has their shit together enough to figure out how to get it to me? (There used to be a notary public open 24 hours at the international terminal at LAX – there is a reason that I know this. Sadly, I hear that service is no longer offered, victim of funding cutbacks.)

By the time you get to number 3, it’s a pretty short list.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had 14 friends, which is an amazing wealth of friendships. Most of those people would bail me out of jail. Some would laugh about it, some would give me a long lecture on my disappointing behavior and some couldn’t raise the bail money unless they stole it.

That doesn’t mean they are all equal.

My friend, Erich, served in the Marines where he said he witnessed a lot of acts of physical courage. Later, he went on to become college president, school board president and many more honors and accolades. He noted that moral courage in the board room is far less common than physical courage – by the same people.

Twice , I’ve been in meetings where I’ve had people yell and swear at me and be generally disrespectful. Both times it was men who were much larger than me, in an attempt to intimidate me (obviously, they didn’t know me that well.) On one occasion, no one said a word, including a couple of my friends. One later commented,

“I just didn’t know what to say.”

The other said,

I knew you could take care of yourself.

I’ll be honest, it did hurt my feelings and disappoint me. The other occasion, one of my friends banged on the table and said,

“You can’t talk to her like that.”

Here is an interesting fact about that meeting. When he said, that, his two sons, who were also present, jumped up immediately to, literally, have his back. Another friend could not be present, but he sent his two sons with the directions to back me up. They also jumped up. A friend of my daughter’s also stood up and shouted,

“Hey! That’s Ronda’s mom! You can’t talk to her like that!”

In my experience, blood is thicker than water. You hear a lot of people say to their friends, “You’re like family to me.” It’s usually not true.

This is the second part of the hard lesson that I learned. Those people from the first meeting are still my friends. They have helped me out professionally, we’ve had a lot of interesting conversations over a couple of beers and they are not bad people.

#53 There are friends who are like family. Then, there are friends who are like friends, and that’s all right. Just try not to confuse the two.

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One Comment

  1. Wow. Wish I could have said some of this to my kids. I’ll pass it on to my grandchildren.

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