Thursday, July 30, 2009

Family, Friends and the Future

The unwritten rule is that we go above and beyond for our family members, cherish our friends and think about the future when handling situations today. That said, I walk a fine line between giving the shirt off my back and wanting to haul-back and slap someone to the ground for the overt lack of regard for said shirt.

I think back to a time when I lived in Washington, DC for ten years. There were moments when I felt very alone – downright disconnected really – but was consistently comforted by knowing that no matter how good or bad things were with family and friends, I wasn’t geographically close enough to be relevant. I was frequently omitted from drama and issues simply because I wasn’t in the line of fire.

Every couple of years my close friends would visit and we’d have a blast. They always seemed more respectful then, since we didn’t have the daily contact that breeds familiarity. By virtue of having such a limited time to spend together, we made the best of all situations.

You’ll notice that if you live long enough time heals all things. Instances that appeared to take your breath away, all seem almost silly today. Personally, it’s now a math problem of sorts. When someone appears to be subtracting your positive energy and do nothing to add to your life, it is time to simply drop them. Too simplistic? Apply these rules to your social interactions for one month and see how it works out:

** You can discuss matters with friends and family, but constant arguing is not healthy or productive. Yelling back-and-forth assures no one is really listening. Attempt to stay calm; state your case; hear their side without interruption; agree to talk about it once you’ve thought about it calmly; set a date/time. If you’re still finding reasons to argue, drop it. This relationship needs to die in silence or be reborn once a sense of respect and mutual understanding can be achieved between the parties.

** Give, give, give, but never receive…. Here’s the reality of things. You should NEVER give with the objective that you’ll be compensated or that folks will eventually reciprocate. Give from the heart expecting nothing in return, but don’t be a fool. If you are constantly putting out cash, your assistance, your ear, etc. and the receiver never volunteers the same, the chances are you are being taken advantage of. Drop this relationship and move on. Even public assistance has figured out that able-bodied people should work for the benefits they receive.

** You suggest mutually beneficial scenarios for your friends and family members – babysitting arrangements, housing, employment, etc. – and they decline your offer as lacking benefit to them, but once they analyze further and figure out they stand to gain most from your suggestion, they back-pedal and attempt to have you rekindle your offer. Once, maybe…twice, rarely… three times – never…take a walk. If your friends and family only want to support ideas that benefit them and do not consider you in their decisions, drop them. You can do badly by yourself – and you can do GREAT by yourself as well. Stop roping losers into your blessing – they didn’t earn it.

In all instances you should let your friends and family know how you feel and why you’ve taken the decision to step back. Be clear – not accusatory – and firm in your stance to separate from the one-sided relationships. Clear your head. You’ve done nothing wrong when you consider your own interests first. Misery loves company and if you don’t believe me, look at a fly strip; you never see a fly stuck on a strip yelling to other flies, “Go around!”

On Blast
Do you think yourself selfish when you demand to be treated with respect?

Keep passin’ the open windows…


Anonymous said...

R-E-S-P-E-C-T me.

I thank God everyday you're still a big part of my life.

That said. You are a selfish buffon. You live ten minutes away and I haven't seen you since the super bowl party.



Demon Hunter said...

Awesome commentary, Cocoa. Thanks for sharing that. :-)

yet another black guy said...

Pardon me for being French and blunt, but that was some real shit you just spoke on. It's hard to close the door on family that continues to use and abuse, but ultimately sometimes it must be done.