“You ever hear of the saying ‘you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole; you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole’.“-Deputy US Marshal Raylen Givens in the TV series”Justified”

I’ve lost two of my closest friends in the last month. Maybe I should start taking my meds again.

I got off them when my insurance from a former employer ended. I now have Medicaid and could order them again, but I decided I wanted to give it a try without them. The results have been mixed.

On the one hand, not being on these antidepressants have helped me to feel real emotions. With them, I tend to be a little numb. Furthermore, as one of my former friends told me, without them I was more the “real me.”

“I like you like this,” he said. “You have more of an edge.”

This fellow may have changed since the  dust up we had a couple of weeks ago. This man, a close pal, is a world traveler. I told him “hey, ‘mi casa su casa'” in case he wanted a place to lay his head for a while.

He took me up on the offer and has been with me for most of the last 5 months.

His stay ended over a silly tiff. My buddy had said to me on a walk “what’s wrong with you” after he lost me on the trek. Yet, I felt his remark was unjustified since he had told me to go on ahead after he decided to stop off at a convenience store. .

I lost my temper at that remark. As I wrote him later in an Email, there are a lot of things wrong with me, but even my estranged wife had never asked that question. I felt offended, especially given the circumstances. I suppose his statement just added fuel to the fire already damaging my self respect.

“One of the things wrong with me is that I have been sleeping on a cot for the last 8 months. I want my bed back,” I wrote. I told him to get a bed for himself or sleep on the cot. Instead, he left right after he got my Email.

The second close buddy with whom I have become estranged told me this weekend that he couldn’t stand to be around me. “All you do is complain,” he said.

Unlike the aforementioned pal, this man was hosting me for the weekend. We had had one other big argument in the past while I was there that resulted in me storming out in a huff. He had called me a name and basically came at me in a threatening manner. But we had since made up.

In fact, I had spent a weekend with him in the spring that went rather well.

This time, after my friend complained about my complaining, I suggested he take me home. (I don’t drive.) But after that I said, “I have grown since the last tiff we had”. I asked him to explain himself  after we finished the  movie we were watching. So he did.

I apologized for my complaining and asked his forgiveness. He inferred that he would rather see changed behavior and then continued complaining about me. As he talked his face was scrunched up in a scowl.

Now both of us are Christians. I have been to Bible college and he considers himself a theologian. I told him,”What you are doing is not biblical. I asked your forgiveness and you are just repeating the same accusations.”  My friend told me he was doing that because he didn’t think I got it. (Sigh.)

Even so, the night ended satisfactorily and I even attended church the next day with my friend. But I decided that I needed to leave for both of our sakes. We were getting on each other’s nerves.

After reflecting on his complaint about my complaining, I determined that what he had said did not quite hold water. I had really not had much discussion with my buddy since I arrived last weekend. The only real complaining I had done was to tell him I had just interviewed with a couple of assholes. But hey, he had asked how it went,so I honestly told him.

I also explained the circumstances surrounding the departure of my other friend as noted above without trying to be demeaning. I wanted him to know because he had met this man and I felt he should know why he wasn’t around anymore.

The episode reminded me of the time my father  told me that I have never held a steady job my whole life. He said this to me at my party celebrating my graduation from grad school. I reminded Dad that I had worked 11 years for the same company before going to grad school and been steadily promoted.

What I learned from the discussion with my father was that the opinions of my own parents about me may not necessarily be the truth. Last weekend I decided that this is true of statements made by close friends, also.

As I said, I hardly had spent any time with my friend from last weekend. So how could he label me as a constant complainer? In fact, last weekend was only the third time I had seen the man in 18 months.

Further, he had said I never complimented his kids. Well, the truth was his son had picked me up from the interview I had been on and we had had  a good discussion and I was positive toward his son’s choices.( He is indeed a good young man.) I told my friend about this discussion in the midst of our discussion about my complaining nature.

It could be that my host was mad about my comments to a journalism student I met when we visited his son at his university that day. The fellow had asked my opinion on the field (I have a journalism undergrad) and I told him the newspaper field was dying. My friend took issue with me on the spot and told the student he had friends in journalism and not to listen to me. I gathered he took my answer as a complaint instead of an opinion.

I have since analyzed the two times I have argued with my friend in the last 18 months. The common denominator with him: he was drinking. This buddy of mine does not hold his liquor well. The common denominator with me: I have little patience and a lot of pride.

Now I have to say that there are grains of truth in my friends’ complaints about me. I am a contrarian. But so is he. In fact, so is the fellow who packed up and left my home this month.

What appears to be close to the truth is that all three of us are assholes. I don’t much like either man right now, and I think the feeling is reciprocated. In fact, I don’t even like myself these days and it probably shows.

But you know what? That’s ok. I got this idea yesterday that some people are going to like me and some aren’t. And I may not like them. If that’s the case, then why be friends?

I also got this thought, which I believe is from the Lord, that it is time to make new friends. I really don’t have any locally. So after I got home yesterday I shut down my Facebook account. I intend to concentrate on people in my town, not people from far away.

I also quit Facebook because I think it is time I spent about a year in self reflection about my life. I know I need to improve as a person. If other people are involved in that, I prefer they be folks who are themselves not negative. These two guys who accuse me of being such are themselves in need of repair in that area.

In any case, I am not sure getting a new drug prescription is the answer. I just need better friends, more patience and a better relationship with the Lord.  When it comes to friends it is time to reshuffle the deck, and I am happy about that prospect.


















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