Fundamental Rules of Friendship

Throughout the history of mankind, you can discern much of the conflicts a society faced from the laws it left behind. Laws define a people. Laws separate them from the other.

Once upon a time when I was a Philosophy major (concentration: Sociology of Religion, in case you were wondering) I studied how the Judaic religion defined itself by setting its members apart. By making up rules to live by that, in turn, began to define them. WE don’t worship idols. WE worship in the Temple. WE don’t eat pork. Et cetera.

When a group of people begins defining itself, it’s because there are others amidst their group who don’t do what they do. Others who believe another way. Others who are different.

Forgive my seemingly unrelated introduction and catastrophic segue, but what I’m going to talk about here is friendship.

Call me a fundamentalist, but I believe very strongly in the word “friend.” I definitely believe in family above all others, but let me be clear here.

I was born to and raised by my family. I chose my friends.

That’s right – chose.

Allright, allright. In the interest of full disclosure, some of my closest friends will tell you they chose me and that I’m not nearly as easy going as I seem. Stop laughing. But, in the end, I chose to give in, didn’t I? I know I’m not easy. As a matter of fact, I can be a complete pain in the ass.

And I’m not going to share what happened that so thoroughly pissed me off and subjected you all to my rant. That would be disloyal.

Instead, I’m going to lay out my rules. Maybe I should just hand it to potential friends to sign before we proceed?..

If I text you, and you don’t text me back immediately, I promise to assume you are busy and not that you’re blowing me off unless you tell me you’re not blowing me off ten texts in a row. And in return, I promise to never tell you that I’m not blowing you off when it’s clear to both of us that I am. I just won’t text you back.

When you tell me something in confidence, I promise not to tell anyone in our/your immediate circle of friends. Instead, I will change your identity and blog about it and/or just tell my best friend, Carrie and sister, Julia, who already know about every aspect of my life and yours and will still look you in the eye without judgment when they meet you.

If I look like crap in something I’m wearing or am just having a bad hair day, you are required to tell me – immediately.

If you “have to tell me something” you have to tell me right then. You can’t say you have to tell me something, but you’ll have to tell me later because then I will obsess about it for the rest of the day, week, month until you do. Look this isn’t the local news, and if something’s gonna kill me, I don’t want to wait until 11:00 to hear about it.

If I’m ever arrested, and I call you to bail me out, I promise to pay you back. And P.S. you may need to be my alibi, so you’ll need express shock and act surprised when you’re picking me up.

When I end a relationship, it’s because it was the right thing to do. When I get dumped, it’s because “that guy must be crazy.” You must say this without hesitation and with complete conviction.

You are never allowed to date anyone I loved so much that I’ve cried over him. I promise to never date anyone you’ve dated. Period.

If you think I’m wrong, you should tell me.

If I hurt your feelings because I’ve said or done something insensitive, you should forgive me and know I would never, ever deliberately do or say anything to hurt you.

When weeks and months and years go by and we haven’t talked because life is so busy and we both have responsibilities that pull us apart, know that I am still your friend, that I still think of you, and that you’re always, always in my heart…
And, that you’re still bound by all of the above.

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