How do we pick our friends? Are they haphazard connections brought about by fate or kismet? Or are we consciously selective about the people we develop close and meaningful relationships with?

I do believe that fate, luck, destiny, or circumstance can all play a role in meeting new people. But building a close relationship with someone is a process and relies on conscious decisions and actions by both parties. It is why we make the distinction between friends and acquaintances. Knowing of someone is not the same as knowing someone.

I only have the experiences with my small circle of friends to answer this for myself. But I imagine some of this process is the same for all of us. I believe there are certain traits or qualities we all look for in a friend. Just as assuredly as there are certainly differences. Introverts and extroverts may work on very different timelines, but they both still make friends.

Certainly, trust is a part of this equation. I would find it hard to consider someone I don’t trust as a close friend. But it is a specific trust. It is not the trust that they will act or behave in a specific way under varying circumstances. Human nature and circumstances can cause anyone to act in ways that would surprise their friends. It is a more general trust. A trust that your friend would never purposefully choose to hurt or harm you. We believe they have a vested interest in our safety, security, and happiness.

The sharing of moral and ethical beliefs is likely an important part too. We are drawn to people whom we believe share our same broad views of right and wrong. Sometimes we find out later that we were incorrect about our assumptions of where they draw the line, often pushing these people out of our inner circle, either surreptitiously or directly. This sharing of moral and ethical beliefs allows us to forgive any perceived small flaws of character in the light of common caring and humanity. Birds of a feather, flock together, so to speak. We are most engaged when the good we see in ourselves is reflected back to us by another.

Of course, a shared passion, hobby, profession, or activity may be what brought us together, and may well be what we bond over or talk about when we share our time. But that is not how we choose our friends. It is how we find them.

I have never considered socio-economic status, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religious beliefs, or physical attributes in choosing a friend. And I can only hope that I have never allowed these things to determine how I treat anyone, friend or not. We all have some biases that even we may be unaware of that play subconsciously on our considered thoughts, but they should not be a conscious tool in determining someone’s value or character. If this does play into how you choose friends for yourself, then I am going to assume most of your friends are racist, judgmental, and closed minded too. You know, that birds of a feather thing again.

And I have never used political affiliation or beliefs to determine a friendship either. Quite often, discussions of our political leanings may not happen until well into what has already become a good friendship. The same could easily be said for religious beliefs. I am a Taoist and would be surprised if any one of my friends knows or even cares. Every religion I have ever studied has shared at its core the love for one another as a focal belief. Similarly, I do not expect a friend’s political views to have an impact on the important items like trust and shared moral tenets.

Why then, as of late, are we, as a society, so often and easily led to see the dissenters to our political beliefs as foes? Their political views are not what made them a friend, and it won’t be what keeps us from continuing to be friends. As a friend, I fully support their right to dissent from my own personal views. In fact, I encourage it, as I have no desire to be surrounded by sycophants. And I respect and value their opinions on politics, just as much as I do about any other subject.

There are good people on every side of the political spectrum. Some of whom you would be honored to call a friend, should the opportunity develop. And there are great ideas on both sides of any debate. Who proffers them has no impact on the idea being worthwhile. And if the common goal is what is best for all people’s, then there should be more common ground than there are differences. How have we let our elected leader’s desire for control and dominance by party politics make it tenable to us that they readily eschew the ability to reach across party lines and make friends? Why do we so easily get caught up in the hateful rhetoric of political party mentality?

To our elected leaders, let me say this. I will continue to vote, as a patriotic duty to the country I love. I will do what I can to make sure my individual voice counts at the ballot box. But I will always question whether we truly share the same moral and ethical beliefs, and to be honest, I can’t seem to trust any of you. So, until that changes, I may be your constituent, but don’t for a second think we are friends. I hold my friends to a higher standard. You need to work harder and show greater success at the task you have been democratically chosen to do before I will ever give you the honor of being called my friend.

19 Responses to “Friends”
  1. meenawalia says:

    I have always believed friends are even better than relations coz we get to chose them on the basis of our mental compatibility. And regarding politics we end up choosing the lesser evil I
    Another great post.Thanks for sharing.

  2. jomz says:

    Friendship, for me, is built on overcoming hardships and trials to achieve a common goal – whether it be in life, in hobbies, or in games.

  3. Great post Brad, if you wanted some constructive feedback, I would tell you that your content is great but you could do with breaking up your text with a few more pictures or headlines or a quote. Some little things like that. Your content is great though.

    It’s a very divided era we live in and I practically fall hard left, but only because of the direction of the right at the moment. You’re right that there are good people on both sides tho and I’m beginning to realise this to a small degree. I think the right is just embarrassing themselves behind this orange headed buffoon tho, in my opinion. (I assume you’re American?) Take care!

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Lone Wolf,

      Thank you so much for your valued critique. I think I am so focused on the writing that I often forget the finished product can be embellished in more interesting and entertaining ways. I am not one for adding a great number of pictures, but used wisely they could certainly improve the overall appearance. Headlines and quotes could be just as useful. Thanks again for your honest criticism and taking a vested interest in my success!

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Sorry, I forgot to confirm this in my reply earlier. I am American. I fully understand your lean to the left when the right seems to be so unattractive these days. I think I fall into the middle, as neither party fully represents my beliefs or needs. Thanks again for weighing in!

      • Yeah well I mean left by nature, liberal when it comes to human rights, maybe slightly more conservative fiscally. I’m Canadian but we have similar polarization going on up here and some bad things happening. Hopefully the world turns itself around soon

      • Brad Osborne says:

        We won’t hold being Canadian against you…lol! You certainly have your own issues politically to deal with. But I will be honest, I am straight and I would vote for Trudeau just on his looks alone…haha

      • Lmao Yeah he’s a handsome PM. Since you won’t hold it against me, I suppose you’re welcome to visit the land of pancakes and maple syrup any time.

    • Jim Borden says:

      How nice of you to give some useful feedback! It’s just as hard to give constructive feedback as it is to receive it.

  4. Jim Borden says:

    great post, Brad. And I so much agree with your point about politicians; I think many of them run for office for the right reasons, to make a difference. But then once they are elected, it seems their primary concern is getting re-elected, and not necessarily doing what their constituents want.

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