The ‘Friend Philosophy Face/Off’ and how I define a good friend


What defines an good friend?

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While I can be an incredibly sociable person, I tend to limit the amount of people I call friends with a big F.

To this day, and since I was 10, I have never had a best friend per say. Rather I have friends that I accumulate over various sectors of my life. This is either one or two people over a particular stage that we would gravitate towards for some mutual love/hate or a particular thing. Some continue forward with me past this stage while others do not. It’s no big deal.

My main issue with obtaining one is since I’m  a multi faceted individual, I have many differing apsects to my personality. Some of which are completely contradictory to one another, so it can be hard to find someone to fit into an all encompassing slot, since most people tend not to be so varied (that and I simply don’t trust people but I won’t digress 🙂 ).

For example

  • Polite side/ Filthy language
  • hard working/lathargic
  • adventure seeker/cautious bear
  • Can talk about rubbish/real deep intellectual conversations
  • conformist/anarchist
  • listener and creator/speaker and destroyer
  • nerdy/mainstream
  • manly and without emotion/Girly and soft
  • chic and polished / trampy and uncaring

list goes on and on

I know many people will also have these variations in themselves and I don’t think by no means it makes me unique but I can be all things to all people. Many times I’ve been two contradictory things in the very same sentence. I suppose at an early age, I learnt to be a social chameleon of sorts. So it’s hard to find that in others.

BUT I think there is one thing that I think fits in most people that I would call my close friends

They challenge me

They need to be thick skinned as well.

#.This isn’t  necessarily about everything, but they aren’t afraid to pull me up on something I say that might be bizzare. And I tend to say alot of things that wouldn’t necessarily make sense in the short sense but over time, might. However in the heat of the moment, it may seem completely bizzare. I suppose subconciously, I need to know whether what my beliefs are, are valid and the only way that is possible is if they can stand up to high scrutiny. So a meticulous anal semantic bastard of a accomplice always goes down well in my book.

And in return for their services

I challenge them.

I do love a good debate.

I also suffer from a lack of succinctness, and a short attention span, which means I often lead people away from the purpose of the point in order to explain how it formed in my head and the path of logic behind it. They say you don’t know where your going unless you know where you’ve come from and that motif has filtered through my reasoning process.

Perhaps it’s the scientist in me catering to the artist but many people don’t always get the connection.

Even so, the fundamentals of a good debate is in the root of all my close friendships I have had since I started really growing in the person I am today.

Normally my one annoying trait is that I do not change my mind, EVER. Ever ever ever.

Not only this but my art of persuasion is usually in good form. I generally wouldnt enter into something without the necessary cards to win. As cluttered my mind may be, my gambler is always on red alert.

Take this case: I’m A monster

As part of an assessment centre for my current job, we were all given a fictional problem to solve.

A movie studio had created these organic monsters to use in their films, essentially creating life from scratch (although they were authentic monsters).  The studio was going to stop making monster movies and therefore needed a way of getting rid of the monsters.

We were all given various cases in order to fight and the task was to get a unanimous decision on the way forward.

Typically I get the least attractive card ‘Kill em all’, which i was personally horrified over but I knew I had to win this argument.

SO while in the depths of my soul, I was waiting for someone with enough gusto and imagination to shout me down, I couldn’t allow myself to lose and went to convince ten other people who’s ideas were all far better than mine to kill these animals.

It’s not that my idea was great, but I had systematically found flaws in all their ideas which they could not counter and made mind seem the most ethical.

I also did this in half the allocated time necessary and came up with three times as many reasons why death would be a better solution than my nearest rival.

At the end of the task, I voiced my concerns on why no one ‘stopped me’ and they all just were a bit gobsmacked

So I knew immediately none of these candidates were going to end up being close friends from this part of my life.

Que Sera sera Vs Carpe Diem

One of my oldest friends and I have gone through a good chunk of life together, without even realising it, it is verging on nearly 20 years now.

We are fundamentally very similar and yet fundamentally very different. this provides actually a surprisingly good mix up which has kept our relationship evolving (and never stagnant) over the years..no decades…(it’s weird saying that).

Surprisingly though, regardless of this, we have led relatively similar lives and have now come to the notion that we want similar things from it.

Whether this is him rubbing off on me or me rubbing off on him, is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it’s just the way our minds change as we get older.

bu we have two distinct philosophies on how we’ve led our lives that do not mingle.

My Philosophy on Life

With regards to life. I’ve always argued its simplicity.

As many of you would know, my motto, taken from Uncle Ben is

Good or bad luck is nothing but the right or wrong mixture of opportunity, preparation and confidence.

Therefore, as long as you are prepared and are confidence about your ability, you will seek out any tiny gaps of the infinite opportunities that float your way and exploit them.

I see opportunities in everything that float passed me on a daily basis and a high amount of potential value in things many wouldn’t deem worth exploiting.

I do however believe that if one floats passed you, another will pass you by relatively soon. It may not be the same size and always as obvious but if you have a keen eye, you can gain almost the same impact from them.

And because of this, life is very simple to me.

I believe that if you have the right outset, toolset and mindset, life will inevitably always take you to where you want to go, give or take a few years.

This notion is true of life, business and love.

Anything that passes my grasp today will either be sought out somewhere down the line or is ultimately not important enough for me to care about (otherwise I would have ceased said opportunity when it arose).

It works like a casino house with the odds in its favour, and even though punters may end up with a big win in the short term and leave you out of pocket, in the long term the house will always win.

Knowing you are never going to lose at life has its advantages and disadvantages.

The greatest advantage is the inevitable peace of mind you get not being stuck in the hear and now. It’s like being on a traffic jam on the way to the airport. The jam is horrendous and frustrating to most but in your eye, you are already on holiday. You’ve planned so far ahead that missing the flight is an impossibility and all that is left is to simply enjoy it. So the world can stress you today but you know tomorrow, it’ll all amount to a hill of beans and won’t mean a damn thing.

In a sense you have a passive-indifference to the lines which join up the dots. Or the public transport commute of fate so to speak.

Others would call it the Que Sera sera motif after the Doris Day song

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I like to personally call it

The Long Game.

You know you will eventually reach your destination so you relax as you embark on the journey.

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My Friend’s Philosophy on Life

Now a good friend of mine has a completely different way of going through things. In a sense he still abides to the golden state rules of opportunity preparation and confidence.

However, he won’t sit around waiting for an opportunity to come knocking. He will create it.

Now creating opportunities isn’t easy, any architect of this construct will generally tell you that in the creation of a genuine opportunity, you get a 90% by product of  lost causeless.

However, they is willing to do that, in order to get what he wants now.

Time is a great commodity for him and he’d rather cease it. There is no assurance that life will float you by to your requested destination, so you need to grab hold of the rudder yourself and navigate.

His stance is active-concerned (Rather than my passive-indifferent).

There is only today, there is no tomorrow and no other opportunity to make a move so one must cease the day

Many would name this type of lifestyle as ‘Carpe Diem’, made famous by the dead poet’s society film

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He likes to personally call it

Putting your Balls on the Table

In affect, there are no lines that join up the dots, everything is a dot and it’s always better to know now than to wait till tomorrow to find out the answer.

Only when armed with the right information at the right time, can the right decision be made.

The Table Balls vs Long Game:

A practical assessment

So how do these two belief systems work in the real world? Let’s take two very callous and non realistic interpretations of this. We both go out to a bar in order to meet ladies of interest.

He may address 7 different girls on a night out in order to get a buzz with someone.

I would wait all night and if someone struck up an idol conversation with me, I would turn that into a romantic exploit.

Even though time may be a commodity for him, the time invested in the six other pursuits may be seen as lost time, but as long as he was active during those periods, it’s better than doing nothing so to speak.

So while the end result is roughly the same, how we go about it is different.

What is the reasoning behind these beliefs?

There has been a fundamental reason for why this is the case and it is to do with acknowledgement of the truth I believe, alongside fear, most notably the fear of being rejected.

Take the previous night out example.

If I don’t know anyone in an environment, I won’t fear being rejected by them but then if I don’t fear the rejection, I don’t place enough value to engage in the first place. So I  state,

“If they were really interested, they would have said something, oh well”.

And mange to revert back to a calm state eventually

BUT if I am interested, the fear of rejection instilled with me would cause me to not approach them as the fear of rejection would grow, causing me to think,

“If they really were interested, they would have said something, oh well”.

And manage to revert back to a calm state eventually

So through a completely different thought processes, I end up at the same actionless point.

Again looking at the same situation through the eyes of my friends

He would engage over lady’s he doesn’t care about willingly  and would think because

“There is nothing to fear in trying, nothing to lose and all to gain”.

And manages to revert back to a calm state eventually

And if he really did like someone, the fear of not knowing if it would lead to something special would cause him to act as

“There is nothing to fear in trying, nothing to lose and all to gain”.

And again manages to revert back to a calm state eventually. SO again, through two completely different thought processes, he ends up at the same point of action.

So what does it boil down to &

How does it affects us

So what he really shows is that he fears the unknown and would rather have bad news than no news. While I would clearly have the latter

Now this makes us two different types of people in a relationship or a work commitment.

I am happy and content to stay put while he would forever look over his shoulder for the next opportunity. Even if I wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t be miserable waiting for the next opportunity to come along.

I am happy to stay in my career while over the last ten years or so, I have heard him wish to pursue many different lines of employment. The only thing that stops him going off and doing them is the necessity to keep up his mortgage repayments. Had he not have that tie him to a single profession, I’m sure he would have changed a dozen times by now.

Anywho, we tend to console in one another when it comes to things that matter and year in year out, we have tried to convince one another that the problems that arise in our lives come from our point of view and in how we confront opportunities that life gives us.

I tried every single situation possible to highlight this and tried to point it out at every obstacle, selling my own motif as the way forward to a better stress free life.

And he would do exactly the same, while I am not as much as a verbally open communication of my issues, he would still use any opportunity to hypothesise stress in my life and then ram his belief down me . As you can typically see, he won’t wait for an opportunity to sell his motif, he would create one (mostly out of thin air).

So we literally lived, breathed and sweat our beliefs. And while the other always had a valid explanation or the turn of events, which could have been avoided if their motif was adopted, we would both stay firm to our own ways and eventually meander out of trouble. Cementing our point.

A stalemate of epic proportions is the fundamental force behind our friendship I believe.

I am Castor Troy

So you can imagine one day when I came to the conclusion of after all this time, he may have actually been right all along. My belief system simply doesn’t have the answer to a given problem. Or any problem for that matter. NO matter how I tried to spin it.

I kept this notion quiet for a while and realised that it would be in vain to keep going on about it as he’d get on at me and forever love the fact he was right all along. but I noticed that the types of conversations we used to have no longer really manifested for a while, so I was in the clear.

Then one day at the airport after an amazing holiday together, something extraordinary happened.

our conversations gently meandered into a dispute that would focus on opportunity and carpe diem/que sera sera.

He’d reached a crossroads in his life, as have is coincidentally and he turns to me and paraphrases

“Pleut, I think you might be right about this long game nonesense”.

unbelieveable.

After all this time when I thought i would never get through to him, he finally changes his mind BUT he changes his around about the same time that I have.

my immediate response was

“No way, your balls on the table approach is far better I’ve realised”.

and we just carried on as normal but on completely the different ends of the spectrum. We had done a complete polar flip. I was now Castor Troy, he was now Sean Archer.

It would seem that the personal toll we carried from abiding to simply one technique had begun to show its scars and we were now mature enough to express the vulnerability in our previous ways rather than ignoring them and plowing through…luckily it might seem.

But this had made us too vulnerable and we are both wading away from all the foundations we were built on in the past. We had also done such a good job painting the grass as greener on either side that we both decided to jump the fence at the same time.

There’s an great old saying

If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain.

Well in this case, we both managed to move the mountain to Mohammed but no one had told either of us that he had fucked off to the old site of the mountain. Typical

So the eternal conflict prevails….and I’m kinda happy it does… 🙂

What’s the value in this?

I write this post because alot of people don’t really understand the value they have on other people’s lives. your roles as friends are generally seen as being supportive, to keep you level headed, to help with advice and to also be used as a form of entertainment.

But having someone there who will always help you keep in perspective, even when your perspective changes and will always give you an option and keep you focused and positive when you think you have none, is probably the most important role you can play.

That and having a spare kidney

Relish in those who make you question yourself,

The sun wouldn’t be bright if the Darkness didn’t cast its shadows

And you wouldn’t be who you are without them.

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