How many people cross our path in a life time? Well, if you are reading this, you are alive. If you are alive it means you were born. If you were born you have or had a mother. That’s one person. Now, add in the doctors and nurses that were there when you left the comfort of your mother’s womb plus a dad who, hopefully, was still on the scene. Then include a whole slew of relatives (you had no choice in the matter) forever connected to you through your family tree.
Over the course of your life, hundreds, even thousands, of people will smile at you, frown at you, or even ignore you all together. You will have close relationships, break them, and just plain lose touch with people that, for one moment in time, were part of your life. A few, a very select few, will enter your life and stay. Stay till either you bite the big one or they kick the bucket. Very few will be with us at our end. Will they be the right few? Will they be people of honor? Of character? Or, will they be leeches, bottom feeders that are there to pick over our bones without a passing thought or moment of remorse?
We make choices every single day. We decide what to wear, what to eat, where to work, where to live, and where to be. Some people spend more time picking out a new pair of tennis shoes then picking with who they share their time.
In a recent obesity study report, carried by all the news services, you have more than a 70% chance of being overweight if your friends are overweight. Who we hang out with matters and not just for our bottom line. Our friends are a reflection of who we are. Our spouses are a reflection of our inner soul. Einstein once said “Without someone to love life is miserable.” But the question is who? Who do we choose to love? How do we know the difference between Mr. or Mrs. Right vs. Mr. or Mrs. Right Now? The saying goes, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” but leaves out how to differentiate between the two.
I can’t tell you how many Datelines I’ve seen that start out “To the outside world they seemed like they were living the American dream; beautiful home, perfect jobs, two and a half kids–when everything went wrong! What made the girl next door hack up the entire family?!” Even though my wife has Tivo’d Dateline and 48 Hours, I don’t have to read any more what any of the episodes are going to be week to week. They’re all murder! Even Stone Phillips just got axed and all he had been doing was telling the story!
Seriously, if we are going to make it in this world or have a fighting chance of making it, we have to know who to trust. In a book that I read a while back, “The Seven Levels of Intimacy” by Matthew Kelly, the key to picking soulmates, bunkmates or roommates lies in one very obvious fact and that is “People aren’t going to treat you any better than they treat themselves.” If your friends are irresponsible drunks, if their lives are out of control, if they lie to themselves, well guess what? They are going to create chaos in your life! People who have lost control over their lives are going to be looking for company. You can either hop in the car with them and go for a ride, or step away from the vehicle.
So very simply, that’s rule #1, “Unless you want your life to go down the toilet, avoid others who are flushing their own life away.” Rule #2, “Perceptions are deceiving.” It’s always calmest right before the storm. There are a lot of “stable looking” individuals out there that are barely hanging on- people with no savings; cars that need repair held together with duct tape; paycheck to paycheck people. When the ground opens to swallow up these people, you don’t want to be standing nearby, much less next to them. Rule #3, “Can you trust this individual?” If there is a pause or hesitation in answering this question, then you can’t. As I said before, people that let themselves down, will take you down.
That leaves rule #4. “Do they have your best interest at heart?” And I’m not just talking lip service. Do they go out of their way to help you, assist you in being a better person without looking for a hand-out? Look at your past experiences with the person you say loves you or has your back. Do they? Do their actions reflect self-interest or devotion? Jane Fonda once said to Lindsey Lohan after her third or fourth arrest for DWI and cocaine possession “This isn’t a dress rehearsal, you only get one life.” If we could all remember that, we might be a little more careful with who we travel down the road of life.
Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy