|Me with my longtime friend Don M. - 46 years|
From time to time I reevaluate my life and my friendships. Like most people I like people to like me. And like most people, I have found that no matter what I'm like or what I do, some people just don't like me.
I admit that for most of my life this fact has bothered me. "What can I do to make people like me more?" I often thought? I sometimes would go to great lengths to make certain people like me, especially those I liked and (thought) I respected.
|My longtime (53 years) friend and former boss Bill P.|
A few years ago I came to the realization that no matter what I did, some people just would never like me.
Was it because I didn't do what they wanted me to do (for them?) Was it because I didn't let them control my life? Was it because I didn't give them enough? Or was it just because they didn't like a tall, skinny, bearded guy who expressed his opinions?
|My longtime (68 years) friend Bill B. at our 50th Class Reunion 2009|
Gradually I came to accept the fact that just being myself was abhorrent to certain people. Should I change myself to suite them? Absolutely not.
I recognize and accept the fact that I am not a perfect person. Oh sure I can use the tired old cliche "No one is perfect." In fact I just did. But I am far from perfect folks.
Here are just a few aspects of my personality that I recognize that are less than perfect:
My tendency to freely express my opinions
My independence and resisting at being controlled by others
And here is perhaps the biggest "imperfection", my irresistible impulse to proclaim "The emperor has no clothes!"
So at this time of my life, my "Twilight Years", I think back to friends I have made and lost.
|Larry, my longtime (65 years) friend and I at 10 Downing Street Restaurant|
One thing is apparently clear in those friends I have made and who are still friends with me.
They accept me as I am, imperfections and all.
That too me is the true test of a friend. And the same holds true in reverse. I have friends who I accept as they are, even though there are aspects of their personality that I don't like. I like them because overall they are good people. I overlook those parts of their personality where they come up short as they do my personality.
|Bill K., my longtime friend (52 years) and husband - I must have a thing for "Bill's"|
Most of my longtime friends have seen the bad side of me. When I haven't been too kind to them at times. Did they get freaked out and ban me from their life? No they didn't. Just as I didn't get freaked out when they let me down.
Then there are those who ended our friendship over the first misstep on my part. Know what? Those friendships probably weren't friendships at all and it is just as well that they ended.
In my senior years I have discovered many benefits. One of the main benefits is that I am finding things that I used to care about I don't care about anymore. Especially those friendships that I have lost. You know what? That's on them. It's also good for me.
I know who I am and I'm not a bad person. In fact I'm a pretty good person. Could be better? Certainly. I could give all my money to charity and volunteer all my time to soup lines. But I don't and never will. But I will continue to be who I am and in these golden years of my life, content with who I am.
|My new "longtime" (three years) friend Pat F. and me at the Marathon Restaurant Philadelphia PA|
Looking at these photos of my best friends, they all have one thing in common. They know me, the bad and the good and they still like me! Now that's a real friend, and they have my total respect and friendship.