Sometimes, when the nuts are all gathered and safely stored, when the snow lies thick upon the ground and there is not much to do but to stay snug in the nest and out of the bitter winds, a squirrel’s thoughts may turn philosophical.
On this occasion, I have been reflecting on the meaning of friendship. Is a friend someone who gives you support and love unconditionally? Or is a friend someone who stand up and risks even the friendship to tell you when you are doing something wrong?
Recently, I had a friend who wanted to take a very big life-changing step and who needed my help and direct support to achieve it. I did just that because I wanted to show my unconditional support but since then I wondered if I had done the right thing. Deep down, I have my doubts about whether my friend had made the decision for change for the right reasons and there is a fear that things will not work out as my friend had hoped.
So have I done the right thing by offering unconditional support? If so, why do I feel that I have contributed to a train wreck that is yet to happen?
The alternative would probably to tell my friend that he is about to make an ass of himself and as I friend I will not participate in his “ass-ification”. I might lose him as a friend though and would be unlikely to have swayed his course. But would I at least achieve a “moral” victory? Hmmm.
When I look back at my own life experiences, I remember a time when a friend told me I would be certifiably insane if I pursued my desire to be a psychologist. Her point was that there were few career opportunities for psychologists in Malaysia and I would probably end up being a starving psychologist. I remember thanking her for her candid input but deep down I wondered why she would try to ruin my dreams and aspirations with mere facts and reality.
In hindsight, I am happy with the career that I did pursue even though it has little to do with psychology. Yet even though till today we remain close friends, that incident still shines like a beacon across the darkness of time to remind me that I did not get the support I wanted. The conclusion from my own experience would suggest that even I value support rather than the truth from a friend.
Yet, there is a part of me that would like to believe in the higher ideal that friendship must be about truth and what is good for the other person above all else ……even the friendship itself. In other words, better to be a good friend or even an ex-friend than a mere “yes”-man friend.
What do you think? What type of friend would you prefer? Please advice the squirrel.