I feel like I owe you an apology for my lack of blogging activity last week. I can only explain it by telling you that I promised myself I would never write blog posts which were deliberately harmful to myself or others. The other way to explain it would be to tell you that I never want to use my blogging to fill time up when I should be trying to recover from problems in my "real world" personal life.
Just over a week ago I had an experience which shook my faith in both my own judgement and the way I treat my friends.
If you know me you will (hopefully) know that - once you have got past my defence mechanisms and reached the status of "friend" - I will go out of my way to be the best friend to you that I can.
What I hope you never find out is how easy it is to lose my friendship - permanently.
I try not to judge people by how they treat me - unless it involves my family or friends.
Seriously - you can say what you like about me and, if I think you have a point, I will listen to you (and be prepared to stand my ground if necessary). If - on the other hand - I don't agree with you I will usually let it flow over my head.
Saying what you like about my friemds or family on the other hand can be extremely dangerous.
You may remember a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago where I spoke about how I think that Mental Health issues should be dealt with in the same way as physical health issues??? The post where I expressed my surprise at how someone thought that one of my friends would act completely differently simply because of their Mental Health issues???
That blog post was a warning shot aimed at someone who is now an ex-friend of mine. (Unfortunately, that old English saying about being able to take a horse to water but not being able to make it consume said water turned out to be true in this case. Even the friend I referred to in the blog post picked up what I was trying to do. It is a pity the target just told me it was a good blog post!!!)
There are three main "Commandments" which I expect my friends to keep. There are a few more of them but the three I am going to list below are the ones which are the dealbreakers when it comes to me deciding if you are about to be deleted from my "Friends List".
Thou Shalt Not Speak Badly Of My Friends In My Presence - Especially if they are not present and therefore are unable to defend themselves.
If there is one thing I pride myself on it is my loyalty to my friends. I may have my own disagreements with them but I will defend them from attacks and slurs on their character unless I have witnessed the reason for your complaint myself (and agree with your views) - I will deal with my friends as I see fit.
This "Commandment" is even more of a dealbreaker if you and I both know they have any kind of issue which makes them vulnerable, ie. disability or Mental Health issue. Put it this way - exercising your ignorance about any difficulties they may face without being willing for me to "educate" you on their behalf is enough to make me get rid of you.
Put very simply - testing my loyalty to a very close friend of mine (who I happen to know you have upset with your attitude towards them) will noy only result in you losing my friendship but will also be reported to them - so they can make their own decision about you.
Thou Shalt Not Make Me Think Thou Art Only Using Me To Get At (Or To) Another Friend Of Mine - My friendships with other people are to be respected and not used as a way of getting what you want.
My friendship with you may have developed as a result of us both liking another person - however - I will always keep my friendships separate/ If you want to gain access to a friend of mine you will have to find another way. Especially if your attitude towards them gives me cause for concern as to your intentions.
If you give me any reason to think you may pose a threat to my friends - don't be surprised if I also decide you pose a direct threat to me and act accordingly.
Thou shalt Treat Anything My Friends Say To You As Though It Is Covered By The Official Secrets Act - After all, if you are telling me what they have told you why shouldn't I automatically assume you will do the same to me???
My trust is a very expensive commodity. If I trust you you have reached a very high level indeed in our friendship and the more I trust you the easier it is for you to lose my trust. Once I feel unable to trust you it is "Game Over".
Any combination of the above will make it more difficult for our friendship to get back on track.
If - one the other hand - you would like to smash our friendship to smithereens - feel free to do what my now ex-friend did and go for a "Full House".
I am honestly not sure what upset me the most - the fact that two people who I count as sisters were both the victims of what happened, the fact that I had to listen to someone's ignorance about an issue I feel very strongly about, the fact that when I told one of my friends what had happened they felt they had to protect me and try to cheer me up, or the sheer sense of betrayal of not only myself but two of my close friends.
I have never been a fan of those people who say "Any friend of So-And-So is a friend of mine" - I prefer to potential friends by my own standards.
I may just have to make my standards tougher.
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