Posted by: guinness222 | January 12, 2009


   The other night I got into a heated “discussion” with my wife about “friends”. It seems we each have different definitions and qualifications  for you to be catagorized as “a friend”  so I thought I would throw it out to you with the “definitions and types” of friends and see where you come down on it.

       Personally I have a huge number of “compartments” into which “friends” are placed, they literally range from the “Hey how are you?” (, haven’t seen them in a dog’s age, what the hell is thier name?” type), all the way to the “Look I got nobody else in the whole world I can trust but you”,  type friend.

      My wife’s definitional range of “friends” is considerably narrower, but augmented with a large, and wide ranging “acquaitances” catagory.

     Now my “acquaintances” catagory is easily defined, anybody I smile at, but don’t really have real conversation, i.e. the cashier at the check-out counter, the guy at the movie rental counter, someone I pass who glances over (ahhh! That’s what a “passing acquaintance is all about! Eureaka! I’ve learned something new!), you got the idea.

     99.9% of the time I take everyone at face value, and try not to be too judgemental about them,…initially. I’ll talk with anyone, perhaps that’s why I love going to the Pub and just “meeting folks”. Sometimes there are relationships that seem good, and then something occurs to ruin that relationship. (I define “relationship” as ANY one on one open meaningful conversational engagement with anyone.) For example I had several “friends” , we all used to stop in for pint’s , trivia, fun, and chat, and we all enjoyed interacting together, and how each of us were doing in general. Then something happened and I judged  they had breached a trust, that I presumed to be beyond being breached by anyone. They are still a “friend”, but on a lower end of the spectrum of being a “trusted” friend. There are other friends in which no bond of trust is involved, it’s just the “light and easy, warm and breezy” relationship, they can’t breach a trust because no trust has been  established  either by mutual consent or unilateral consent, but it extends to something more than simply being “civil”. (Ok go take an asprin, I told you I’m complex!)

     But I guess basically “friends” are folks that enjoy doing what you like to do, having fun the way you like to have fun, in other words “spinning around the same sun that warms you both” . The more they like what I do, the more they like me, and the more I like them,….we have commonality,…yeah  that’s it commonality.

       Albert and Mary Ann may be perfectly fine upstanding church folks who give generously and work very hard to be excellant singers in the choir, and outgoing and friendly, etc. etc., HOWEVER, they don’t fall into a “friend” compartment, because I only tolerate chior singing because my wife is in it and loves it, and I try and support her (i.e. go without a fight, smile, don’t chew with my mouth open, no “f-bombs” or church jokes, and dress more civilly than usual, …you know that type of “support”) in whatever she likes to do. Hell, I’ve even volunteered to narrate thier concerts several times for them and enjoyed doing it (One practice, and they all loved it every time,…beats sitting on a wooden pew listening for two hours) . ( And, like I told the Padre at the Church they have thier concerts in, “You let me get up on that Pulpit, ..well I may never get down!” He chuckled, but I was serious.)  But I don’t have anything else of a “commonality” with any of the members, nor do I care to go to “Pot Luck” suppers, post concert “Cookies and tea” sessions, and anything else. I can be “civil” that’s about as far as it goes. I really and truly believe the old adage , “God gave you your relatives, but you can chose your friends.”

        Therein lies the crux of the differences between us. “They think you’re a little stuck up.” my wife tells me. “And the point would be that I should….?” Says me. (OK bad choice of words, sort of a gasoline on the fire thing.)

        “All you do is hang out with “bar buddies” and drink.”  But you know what my “bar buddies” like to chat as well. They all work hard, (it takes money to drink!) , most of them go to church on Sunday, (no I don’t know which church, nor do I care) , but they have opinions on the current financial crisis, because they work for a living, they have families they have to care for, and are worried about thier jobs going away,…all the usual problems. And they may like football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR, …hell  watching the financial channel, even though they don’t know a commodity from an option, from a put or a call, let alone shorting out. But they listen and have opinions. They all drink, absolutely. and occasionally they WILL get “wrecked” because they go overload and don’t know what else to do more than they are doing to survive and make it. I gotta love these folks,…they are real people, albeit in thier own way real. The single Mom’s finally getting out with a couple of girl-friends just to “blow off the stink” of day to day responsibilities. My buddy “Mick” who has been telling all the guys that work for him to put away some of thier money for the last three years of “boom time” because the work is gonna slack off. Well it has, they didn’t, and now they are calling every day begging for a $20 bill to buy some groceries, or try and get enough fo the rent. He does what he can, but he says, “Jesus, it was like talking to a wall for the past three years, now they want me to take care of them for being stupid.”

        I guess for as much as I know, as much as I learn, as much as I could have been, well,…I love the common man! Sipping a cocktail at “The Club” is not me, dressing uncomfortably because it is “the fashion” , that ain’t me, and maybe it’s my own insecurities but all those who “like me”, seem to be your friends types, all seem to want something in return,…and 99 times out of 100 it’s not really “friendship”, but an introduction to someone you know for business purposes, a new “donor” for the Church fund drive, someone to buy girl scout cookies from thier granddaughter in Arizona or some other part of the world, or something else equally obnoxious.

        Do I sound like a cynic, you bet your butt I do. Love me, leave me, but this is what you get, and if you REALLY want to be my friend I damn well expect you to work at it, because friendship is most definately a “two way street”. Like I said in the beginning I got a lot of “compartments” for friends, but there are definately varying degrees from here to the moon!

       Last year I “had to go” to a wedding, and the reception afterwards for one of my wife’s “choir cronies” daughter. Needless to say I was threatened with complete and total annilation and extermination if I did not “behave and get along with others”, (I said “OK, but only those of the Homo Sapiens variety.”) Well, as faith had it I got stuck with a bunch of “OK” people, and two couples that were “church folk” if you know what I mean. Well I didn’t bite off any chickens heads and all, but I was my “usual charming self”, in fact I was so charming the waitress asked me if I’d like another glass of wine and I said, “Only a glass?”, she said, “Ok, got it, you get two bottles.” And God love the beautiful waif, she brought me two bottles and plunked them down. As my wife’s eyebrows hit the ceiling I said to her (the waitress), “Would it be ok if I shared these with the folks at the table?, and she replied, (increasing her tip largely I might add) , “It’s up to you, they are your bottles.”

         Now there is a real friend, she knew I was floundering in the “sea of polite political correctness”, and about ready to tell some old “Sailor Jokes” to spice up the place.

         (Yes I did share, poured wine all around, even had the “church folk” downing several glasses. Next time I went to one of thier concerts they came over like long lost friends and started telling thier friends, “This is the great guy with the sense of humor I was telling you about. ” Of course to keep my reputation in tact I asked them if there was going to be an open bar after the concert or should I bring in my cooler!

        (Today’s new word kiddies , is “incorrigable” here’s a sentance courtesy of my lovely wife, as we drove home that evening,  “You are incorrigable.” Just say thank you ,…nothing else.)



  1. My definition of a friend is a little more simple than yours. I call a anyone a true friend if they buy me a beer and wings and leave me alone.

  2. I’m right there along with you on the friends front. I categorize friends pretty much the same way you do. You can’t choose your relatives but you can choose your friends…amen!! :}

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