Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

You cannot be everyone’s friend, else you will lose yourself

23 December 2019


About 2 weeks ago, radio DJ Shay Kreuger was reading some apps from one of her listeners. His messages to her were rather negative. I wrote to Shay to support her. Shay decided reading one of my messages out loud: “You cannot be everyone’s friend, else you will ultimately lose yourself”. She said to her audience: “Wow, that’s harsh“. I only wondered: is it really?

Perhaps, I’ve touched upon a classic difference between a man and a woman. I’ve noticed that women often aim to stay friends with all people around them, and in particular other women. Often, men seem to be more selective in choosing their male friends (eg, networking) and their female friends (eg, possibly maybe).

In my view, it’s impossible to be everyone’s friend. Reasons may vary between conflict of interest, disinterest, dislike, previous experiences, etc. Often, you must choose who is your friend and who is not. Unfortunately, a great way of losing friends is choosing sides in a conflict (eg, marital tensions, divorce). Staying neutral in such situations isn’t always an option.

Pleasing everyone (eg, changing Shay! into Shay) will imply losing part(s) of your identity. Hence, ultimately you will be losing yourself in the process of pleasing others. I noticed some relevant and interesting articles, which were written by women: How Women Can Overcome People-Pleasing and Perfectionism and Pleaser Women Always Lose out.

Psych Central: “While people-pleasing and perfectionism aren’t exclusively women’s issues, women are socialized in many cultures to be caretakers, put other people’s needs before their own, and be passive. They worry about what other people think of them; they don’t want to displease or be seen as “difficult” or “high maintenance.” So, they say “yes” and don’t make any waves.”

It might seem that my recent blog You get what you give contradicts the above. If you give friendship then you should get friendship. In and of itself, this is true unless friendship is no longer exclusive. A person who is everyone’s “friend” may become a person who is nobody’s friend.

Friendship is not a commodity but our rare gift to some people only, who we admire as a human being for a mix of qualifications (eg, availability, discretion, friendliness, integrity, loyalty). I suppose this is the worship part in Oscar Wilde‘s quote about friendship between men and women.

The Carpenters may have touched upon the key issue of friendship: They long to be close to you.

(They Long to Be) Close to You (1970) by The Carpenters

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Why do birds suddenly appear 

Every time you are near? 

Just like me, they long to be 

Close to you

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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