My Perspective: Friend or Foe

by Dee Armstrong

In my simple mind, I see people in three simple categories: friend, foe or acquaintance.

I have more acquaintances than I have friends or foes. Most business interactions are with acquaintances, and that’s okay, because I see no red flags with them until they give me reason to move them into the “foe” category. I’m also careful, so the “foe” list is rather short, thank goodness.

Someone once told me that we have friends for various purposes and for different lengths of time. Some are lifetime friends. Some short-lived for one reason or another. Some friends we see all the time. Others we see rarely but stay in touch. Amazingly, with today’s technology, some friends we never meet or see at all. The American Journal teammates are proof of that.

Unfortunately, there are also “foes” in life. I can’t call them enemies because any soldier who has served in combat can tell us what an enemy really is. The rest of us have people who negatively touch our lives and just don’t belong there.

You would think that, at my age, I could spot the difference between friend and foe. We made some poor but major decisions based on a false friend who turned foe.  Guess I still have a speck of naivety and gullibility left in these old bones. Not sure if that’s good or not so good. Children are naïve and gullible, and we should all hold on to a bit of “child” in us.

Over the past three years, I’ve come to some serious conclusions about relationships.

True friends sometimes hurt you, but they don’t mean to do so. They don’t pass judgment—a friend knows that judgment is ultimately left to Almighty God—and our earthly justice system.

Friends don’t LIE. They love you unconditionally, even if they might not like everything you do or say. They stay in touch but understand if communication doesn’t happen on a regular basis. In other words, they try their best to be there, regardless of the current joy or sorrow in our lives.

Friends must share my core values—conservativism; respect for life, for others and others’ property; honesty; faith; respect for nature (animals may harm us or do bad things, but not with deliberation—only with innocence, unlike humans); loyalty where it’s deserved; and a recognition of our own strengths and weaknesses. That last one falls under “honesty.” An honest look at oneself is so important to being a good person and being a good friend.

Of course, friendship works both ways. Being a friend requires reciprocal respect on all fronts

I believe there are two sacred rules to maintain a healthy and rewarding friendship. First, HONESTY. Second, communication. Those two elements are undeniably attached. Honest communication.

In my life, a friend turns into a foe when one is dishonest and/or refuses to communicate. There’s nothing more painful and frustrating than just not knowing why someone who claimed to be a “friend” turned against me with no explanation. What did I do? How hard must I try to reconnect? Or should I try at all? Can I ever trust that person again? If our friendship isn’t worth the effort to straighten things out, it wasn’t much of a friendship to being with.

My “foes” become my foes because I let them hurt me. Geez, how could I be so easily deceived? Especially after 70 years of life experience! Shame on me. And shame on me for making poor decisions based on a deceitful “friend.” We are paying the price for that misjudgment. Every day in many ways.

I only have a handful of longtime friends, and that’s okay. Ray and I moved to a new location and understand that most everyone our age here has established their friendships by now. My best friend is my husband, Ray, and always will be. Some folks I’ve met here are nice, but true friendship takes time, testing, and effort. I have little time for social stuff, and I have modest energy, so, sadly, my investment in new friends is also modest. I understand that my new friends are in that same situation. However, my few Montana friends have not just talked the talk, but also walked the walk. They have openly demonstrated their desire to befriend me. I’m grateful for them, as I am for my lifelong friends. I hope I can continue to reach out to them and prove myself a worthy friend.

I have also concluded that I really feel sorry for the foes, for those who don’t understand the word “friend.” They must be troubled and lonely. I wish them well, but I won’t stay around those who hurt me or those I don’t trust. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted. Guess my 70 years and my Christian faith have finally blessed me with a touch of wisdom! Better late than never. Life teaches me something every day, so I’m continually learning. That’s a good thing.

Life is good, regardless of friends or foes!

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved, Email Dee:
deeinmontana1949@gmail.com

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