>And if that’s a relevant question for you, let me also ask: would you rather be popular than right? Because sometimes I see people losing the line that divides the two. They lose that distinction between real and fake because they are trying so hard to be popular.
And if truth be told, I’ve done it too: faked a smile, an expression of joy, a familiarity with people where none exists. But friendships? No, those cannot be faked, not by me.
But then, I’m not popular either, you see. And not half as desperate as some others to notch up a few brownie points on the popularity chart to actually fake a friendship.
It’s the art of social networking, I’m told, and the investment of time and energy apart from money of course, pays rich dividends. You throw parties for perfect strangers, lavish them with the best of wines served in the most expensive crystal, open your house to the scrutiny of those strangers, show off your outrageously priced furniture and what-have-you and indulge in some mundane conversations – just so that you can call those strangers friends.
It’s the desperation to be seen with the rich and the famous of your city, to have your name on the invitation list of the high profile parties in town. Don’t mislead yourself to believe that any of that is friendship because friendship isn’t about enjoying meaningless conversations, or pandering to appearances. It isn’t not about toeing the popular line, or mouthing the ‘right’ words. It’s not about using someone’s contacts for your benefits or dropping names to show your clout. It’s not about popularity.
I don’t need to say this, but I want to: friendship is about standing up for a person, about wishing him well, about treating him as more than fodder for gossip. It’s about being able to laugh at somebody’s face and not behind his back. It’s about knowing how you’re different from your friend and accepting him for who he is. But not accepting him for what he is because he’s rich and famous. It’s about being able to tell him he’s without fear of your name being struck off the invitation list to his party.
I may not be popular, but I hope I’ve been a friend.