I stand accused of being a conman that only behaves certain ways so that people will be my friend.
Guilty As Charged!
My accusers got it right, I have developed certain character traits that have the awesome side effect of also being great ways to attract and keep a friend. Here’s what I have come up with so far, let me know if there are any I should add.
◊ I don’t judge.
I make it a point to tell my friends, and show them that I’m not judging them for their screw-ups in life because I’m probably due for one myself. The con is that I’d rather be surrounded by imperfect people who know I’m going to stand next to them if they’re in a jam, because those are the ones that will stand next to me. People tend to relax, trust me, and build a friendship with me when they realize I take them as they are, not who either of us want them to be. I believe in loyalty above all else.
A point of contention has been the: “What if you or your friend was wrong?” What I came up with was: “That’s the point!” My friends and I aren’t friends because we’re right all the time, we’re friends because we have decided to be there for each other, no matter what. I pity those who don’t know that feeling personally.
“A sad thing it is to not have friends, but even sadder must it be not having any enemies; that a man should have no enemies is a sign that he has no talent to outshine others, nor character that inspires, nor valor that is feared, nor honor to be rumored, nor goods to be coveted, nor anything to be envied.”~ Ricardo Palma
◊ I don’t gossip.
All communities are rife with gossip; yours and mine are the same in that way. The con comes when after years of never hearing me speak ill of anyone else without being able to finish it with: “…and you can tell them I said that.” Yep, I have said some brutal things when necessary, the part that gains me friends is that I never put them in an awkward situation by starting a conversation with “Don’t tell anyone I said this, BUT____” Folks appreciate that, it frees them to be able to quote my words correctly and in context. My taking that stance else shows the people around me that I am one of the few men most people will ever know that they can safely say won’t speak poorly of them, behind their backs.
Team, remember that anyone who specifically doesn’t want to be held accountable for their words in public or private should be immediately deleted from your life.
“Slander cannot destroy an honest man – when the flood recedes the rock is there.” – Chinese Proverb
◊ I’m fine with not being politically correct.
I never go out of my way to be offensive, but I am. I make it a point to speak my mind honestly and make my position clear. This is not to defend my position or force it on others, just make sure I’m not misunderstood. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am wrong, however my opinions don’t become subject to social convention. The con comes when people realize that very, very few men are able to hold their position if it’s unpopular or they have pressure to fall in line with everyone else. They tuck their tail, apologize, and pretend to have totally changed their mind, then everyone smiles and agree to pretend to believe the lie.
Sad but true.
“Most people are half-aware that they are almost constantly surrounded by a net of lies. The big lies of politics and religion; the medium-sized lies of advertising and marketing; and all the little lies of the workplace and normal social interaction. Many people constantly pretend, even to themselves, to believe things that in other and deeper parts of their minds they know aren’t true – but they dare not confront those truths because they think the social and personal costs of doing so would be higher than they can bear.” ~ Eric S. Raymond
◊ I’ve been in a few fights.
The reality is that life has shown most of us that there is a certain confidence and reliability that only comes from a man being tested physically. The con comes when I actually don’t mind testing myself physically; it’s how I developed my ability to be calm in mentally challenging situations. Most men actively avoid physical duress and hardship these days. I don’t mean that men should act on our natural predisposition to violence, that’s not productive. I mean that I’ve found fewer and fewer men do anything physical at all. Those of us who do, stand out. At this stage of life, I am quite content with taking and delivering hellacious beatings in the gym, burning my hands blacksmithing, collapsing under the weight of a heavy bench press and I love to compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournaments. I’ve found that knowing what I can endure physically makes the mental challenges much easier to deal with. It’s a trait I look for in other men and have been complimented on by people in my life.
Women often complement my hands; my hands are scarred and calloused.
“Men who have fought know how difficult it is to stand against the crowd and that civilization is fragile and important. A man who has experienced violence knows that, at its core, civilization is an agreement between men to behave well. That agreement can be broken at any moment; it’s part of manhood to be ready when it is. Men who have been in fights know about something that is rarely spoken of without snickering these days: honor. Men who have been in fights know that, on some level, words are just words: At some point, words must be backed up by deeds.” ~Scott Locklin
Do you have any rare or unique character traits that make the road of life easier to travel?
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