Friends Like These

Last Friday, UK-based social media news feeds were awash with post-election bitterness. Profanities, accusations and rudeness abounded between those who were – according to their profile descriptions if not evidenced elsewhere that day – ‘friends’ with one another. Characterised by a desire to shove opinions down each other’s throats whilst savagely and wantonly disregarding the pesky facts of emotional sensitivity and human decency, this was a war of attrition using words as weapons. And by God was it unpleasant.

To quote a friend who has herself been subject to recent politically-charged vitriol:

“Friendship does not spout vile names. It involves two parties making equal effort. It involves honesty delivered with tact and kindness. It involves laughing, a lot. It involves knowing when to step in and when to step back. It involves communication, balanced and regular. Anything that feels one-sided and wrong, probably is.”

Friendship isn’t always easy. As individuals (the clue is in the name), we will rarely find people with whom we always agree. But that’s okay, because being challenged in our views is the best way we can grow – so long as those who are challenging us do so in a way that is considered, measured and, above all else, respectful. Without mutual respect, friendship cannot exist. In its place is a barren wasteland of forced opinions, deaf ears and closed hearts. This world is full enough of hatred as it is. If we turn on those closest to us, what hope is there for a better future?

Another feature of friendship that is paramount to its survival is honesty. So many people let the behaviour of so-called ‘friends’ go unchecked, despite it impacting negatively upon them, because it’s easier to put up and shut up than it is to rock the boat by being honest. But if you can’t be honest with the person in question, can you truly call your relationship a friendship?

Finally, and most importantly of all, friendship cannot flourish without kindness. When we are going through our own struggles, it is easy to forget that others have theirs too. We cannot change the way others behave towards us during challenging times, but we can try to understand and forgive negative words and behaviour, and stop ourselves from getting drawn into a vortex of negativity.

We are, all of us, only human, and our time on earth is short. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts we have, so instead of squandering it we would do well to work on nurturing it.

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The misery maker

On the surface you have everything; the looks, the brains, the charismatic smile that says you’re someone worth knowing, worth pursuing. You have money to fund the kind of lifestyle that most people only dream of. You stride around in suits fitted on Savile Row with shoes so shiny your face reflects back up at you as you walk: The face of success.

Other men want to be you. And then there are the women – so many women. A different one each day of the week, picked up and cast off like items of clothing depending on your mood. This week alone has seen you dine with Sylvia, attend a gallery opening with Lucinda, have animalistic sex with Stacey, beat Mirelle so hard she won’t be able to sit down for a week.

Tonight, for your own enjoyment, you will tell Annaleese that she is fat and she disgusts you. She will go home, cry, drink a bottle of whisky and swallow a handful of pills to ensure she never has to hear you say those words again.

You revel in the misery of these women, in your ability to make them feel so worthless. But what you fail to realise in this deluded state of hatred and bitterness is that there’s only one person in this situation who is worthless.

And that person is you.

Image

I wasn’t sure what image to choose to accompany this post, so settled for this pic of a porn star martini, taken in a gorgeous restaurant in Brighton last spring. That particular evening was fantastic, but I guess what this image represents where the story is concerned is the loneliness that goes hand in hand with the behaviour described.