Jim: Oh. I’m sorry. I regret bumping into you. Oh, I think I recognize you. Yes, I do. My gosh. I think we used to work together didn’t we? Well, perhaps we did. So, let’s talk about our lives today. Let’s talk about acquaintances. Let’s talk about friends. And, let’s talk about life companions. Let’s talk about fully impacting your life. Let’s talk about participating in your life. Let’s talk about being alive and feeling the tingle and participating in your life through full-impact mindfulness. And, one of the ways that we promote that on this program through this philosophy of life, through this design for living, is to Fish Without Bait – to have a lifetime without definitive expectations or trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others. Welcome aboard. Jump on. Jump on the bus. Buy the ticket. And, today as always I’m joined by my good friend, co-host, and producer of this program, Mr. Mike. Mr. Mike could you tell me what your thoughts are on an acquaintance? What an acquaintance is.
Mike: Well, acquaintance is not that maybe inner circle, but just somebody that you interact with on a regular basis.
Jim: Somebody that you interact with on a regular basis. Somebody that you don’t know all that well. Perhaps it’s a superficial type of a relationship. Perhaps as you’re definitely interested in professional wrestling, perhaps it’s somebody that you occasionally see and talk to at a wrestling match.
Mike: Oh yeah. Certainly. I have a lot of those – you know the familiar face that you see every time there’s a wrestling show. Every time I’m at a technology networking event or something, right?
Jim: You run into those type of like-minded people whose commonality you have with them is your aficionado of wrestling.
Mike: But, they’re not necessarily the person that I’ll call up when I have a problem.
Jim: Tell me what a friend would be for you.
Mike: That would be that person I can call up and ask for a favor, or ask for some help, or – you know, be more than willing when they have a call out to help them.
Jim: At times we do move beyond acquaintances to friends to life companions. Could you tell me what your perception of a life companion is, Mike?
Mike: That would be your husband, your wife, your partner. Thinking extendedly, your best friend.
Jim: Your best friend. Somebody who would be with you. And, a dictionary can only give you the definition of a word. It struggles with giving a word meaning. Only life experience can give a word meaning. Only life experience. So, as we refer back to the Buddha, the Buddha talks about false friends. The Buddha talks about takers. The Buddha talks about talkers. The Buddha talks about flatterers and reckless companions. So, when you think of someone being a taker, what comes to your mind, Mike?
Mike: More often than not, it’s asking for help.
Jim: Right. A taker is simply that. A taker asks. A taker however, gives little. And, only offers when there’s something to gain for themselves. How about a talker? I’m sure you have many acquaintances that are talkers.
Mike: Yeah. The ones that really want to get every word in edgewise.
Jim: Sure. The ones that are always promising. The ones that are offering you empty praise. However, are often full of excuses as to why they can’t participate more fully into your life. And, then there’s the flatterers. Tell me about flatterers, Mike.
Mike: They always have something good to say about you.
Jim: They always have something good to say about you. And, actually, they validate all of your behaviors, whether good or bad. Flatterers often say one thing to your face and another behind your back. And, then quite often what we have is what the Buddha would call reckless companions. Ones who engage in activities such as gambling, drinking, drugging. Those type of reckless behaviors and that’s the only commonality that you have. So, quite often when we deal with people and addiction, Mike, the only commonalities that you have with reckless companions is that particular activities. Sometimes I’ll ask people how many of these people wouldn’t even know what your birthday is? Or the color of your eyes? Or perhaps the color of your children or your birthdate, or who your parents are, or even where you live.
Mike: And, these are the people that, you know, unfortunately maybe that’s who they consider their friends and they have to change what’s wrong with them. Then they would have to not have those friends anymore. And, it’s scary.
Jim: Yes. Let’s delve into that world of scary a little bit. And, I know you’re a big proponent of social media. However, social media has given a new twist and a new expansion to the definition of what friends are. What some people gain their own self-worth by how many likes they have on a particular post. How many hearts that they get. What does that mean to you? How do you explain that?
Mike: There’s definitely a sense that – you know – people are just looking for that mass appeal and that mass being liked, right? And, those mechanisms give you a little bit of endorphins every time you see a new like on your photo or video or tweet, right?
Jim: Yes. Yes. And, quite often we judge how well or how deep or beneficial something that we say is by how many people engage us back.
Mike: Right. Right. And, that’s also there’s a different level of there’s the likes and everything, but how many people are actually responding and engaging on a deeper level and having a conversation around it?
Jim: Sure. So, sometimes I’ll call the people who give the likes as simply flatterers, Mike. Simply flatterers. So, the Buddha talks about true friends. Differentiating them into helpers and endurers. Mentor friends and companion friends. So, the Buddha talks about the seven qualities of a friend – and keep in mind these are not only qualities that we look for in others. These are qualities that we try to cultivate ourselves as in previous podcasts that we’ve done, Mike, we’ve talked about rather than finding yourself, we’re talking about creating yourself, are we not?
Jim: So, what the Buddha talks about is do you give what is hard to give? Do we do what is hard to do? Do we endure what is hard to endure? Do you have a friend that reveals secrets to you? And, more importantly, do you keep the secrets that are given to you? Do you not abandon your friends? Or, do you have friends that would not abandon you? When misfortune happens to another person, do you back away from them? So, what we’re looking for, Mike, is when we’re looking for true friends are you looking for someone who’s profoundly wise or profoundly rich? So, when we’re looking at a helper friend we’re looking at someone who provides protection for you, gives you refuge – shelter in a storm. Endurer friends are people who are with you in good times and in bad. We talk about fair weather friends often, do we not? What I’m talking about friends, and what I’m talking about life companions I’m talking about people who would stand with you at the end. If we refer back to previous podcasts, Mike, we talked about what’s important in your life. We talk about if everything else was stripped away from you – your health, your money, your education, your home – who would be standing with you at the end? These are the relationships you want to add to and reinforce. This is where we talk about becoming the observer of situations. Thinking at situations to determine who your real and true friends are. Not just the shiny new thing that we have to have. And, when we talk about mentor friends, we talk about friends who not only point out when you do well, they point out perhaps when you’re going down in the wrong direction. When we talk about friends who point out – when you might be reacting to situations, perhaps out of an emotional mind, and a real friend – a mentor friend, might be saying is that a wise mind choice? Let’s step back and let’s think this thing through. And, when we’re talking about compassionate friends, we’re talking about people who do not take delight in others’ misfortunes. So, there’s a German word called schadenfreude. Are you familiar with that, Mike?
Mike: I’ve heard it before, yeah.
Jim: Yes. It’s a German word for people who take delight in the misfortune of others. And, this – isn’t it really and truly what some of these voyeuristic activity that’s involved in the media today is?
Mike: Oh, absolutely. And, we get to see so much of it. I mean, why do you watch the news all the time? It’s all bad news.
Jim: Do we watch these reality programs? Do we participate in these media events sometimes? To have people succeed? Or do we see to watch them fail?
Mike: We like to see the celebrities taken down a notch.
Jim: Indeed. So, most of the times, and please don’t think that I’m discounting Nascar, however many people go to the event simply to see a what?
Mike: A crash.
Jim: They go to the event simply to see a crash.
Mike: Something spectacular.
Jim: Yeah. Something spectacular. And, we often think of how badly that other person may be hurt. So, people who take delight in the misfortune of others, even these type of individuals we want to try to stay away from. So, we talk about often about the positive ways – the positive energy that we emit and avoiding negative energy. When we often talk about having people avoid situations where they can be emotionally vulnerable, do we not? We often talk about if you’re a great bowler, help us understand why you want to insinuate yourself into a golf league. Really and truly.
Mike: I feel like that’s happened before, too. Because we’ve had how many great basketball players say I want to take my hand at baseball.
Jim: Right. Right. So, what we do is we build from strengths, talents, and abilities, do we not? We look at the foundation. We look at simplicity. We look at the values. We often talk about building values and finding values in our lives, do we not? And, we often talk about surrounding ourselves with people who enhance those values that we already have. How many people do you know that are looking for that reaction? Are looking for some type of a charge in their life, and looking to maybe engage in reckless activity? How many people do you know, and unfortunately, particularly young ladies, who look for reckless companions rather than someone who truly loves them.
Mike: Absolutely. In some of my work I work around a lot of people. Encountering the poor girls that have like, just an – excuse me, an asshole, for their significant other. And, that is like demeaning them in front of me.
Jim: And, these relationships seem to perpetuate themselves. They move from these disparaging, diminishing relationships one after the other. And, even when they’ve found someone who treats them well, they generally sabotage or jettison that relationship – as, Mike, their own self-concept, facts, and information they know about themselves are so skewed that they believe that they are perhaps worthy of being with somebody that treats them well, okay? So, my suggestion is when you’re looking for a friend, if you’re looking to be a friend, you might want to add a disclaimer onto your profile or what you’re looking for – the emotionally needy need not apply. I suggest you not look for someone to fix. Or someone to fix you. Relationships, friendships, life companions are not like geometry. Two halves do not make a whole. So, when we walk through life, please do not look through your life with definitive expectations. Have that beginner’s mind. Be open to possibilities. However, if we’re looking for certainties, we’ll certainly find them. Or, walk through our life with bitter disappointments and regrets. To be a friend, to have friends, to be loved – be loveable. Make yourself friendable. And, if you want to learn how to do that, look back through our previous podcasts. Learn how to Fish Without Bait. Not only fully-impact other people’s lives, first fully-impact your own. Until then, do a kindness for yourself. Do a kindness for another. Namaste.
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