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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who your friends are

One sure way to find out who your friends are is to find yourself suffering through a tough time. I’ve been there. You’d be surprised to discover who sticks with you and who avoids you like the plague. Apparently, poverty is contagious or something. They don’t want it to rub off on them so they become scarce indeed.

One thing about this economic downturn that I’ve noticed is that a lot of people are withdrawing into themselves. I know people who are having a tough time, but have turned away from friends. Perhaps they are too proud or embarrassed for people to see them struggling. Believe me, it’s no shame to be struggling right now. Those of us who’ve been there certainly aren’t going to judge anyone. The sad thing is that many of us want to help, but we don’t even know exactly what’s needed.

Some people have given up. It’s like they are slipping down a cliff, but won’t raise a hand up to the rescuer reaching down. Are they depressed? Have they no hope left?

I know it’s hard to accept help. When I was having a rough time, it was one of the toughest things to do. Pride was part of it. A good friend finally got through to me. He knew I used to help other people. Remember how good it can feel to help someone, he said? Why don’t you give someone else a chance to have that good feeling. After that, I did accept help from my friends, and gave them a big thank you in return.

Economic downturns have come and gone. This time around around there is a feeling that something is different. There’s a sense that things will never be like they were before. In the past, people would get laid off, then a few months later they’d get rehired. Now they get laid off and the company moves away and the building is torn down.

How many people are worse off than their parents were at their age? For most, it’s not their fault. They aren’t lazy or stupid. Their lives have been spun out of control by forces beyond their control. No wonder they are withdrawn. When sinking in quicksand, it’s tough to look beyond the immediate problem.

My feeling is that things have fundamentally changed. The old way of life for many people will never come back. That’s hard to deal with. Fundamental assumptions of life have been proven wrong. Hard work is not enough to succeed. Being smart is not enough. Loyalty is not returned. Sacrifice has no reward.

That’s not to say that nothing can be done. It’s still possible to have a rich rewarding life, just not the life you once imagined. Now is not the time to become withdrawn, but to reach out. Together we can shake off the broken dreams and build something new and real. When the fair weather friends have gone, then those who remain are serious about helping. Maybe they can only provide encouragement, but that’s noting to sneeze at. Some may have just the idea you need. You can’t get anywhere hiding inside your shell.

Find out who your true friends are. If none of your old friends are left, make new ones.



  1. The old saying is true, if you can count your true friends on one hand, you are blessed.

  2. another great post. Similar to my 3 yrs out of the workforce, but back in it now for the last 8 months. But I just have this feeling it's not going to last in my line of work (apt const), seems like the other shoe is about to drop, and drop hard.


    Bigfoot in TX

  3. Isn't it wonderful how, when helping people, each party feels blessed and is. I have had help and given it. Feels much better to give it.

  4. Excellent post and I agree. Well done.

  5. Sixbears,

    Great post! Agreed, I help when and where I can and it's a great feeling from within.

  6. Another excellent, thoughtful entry! This is something I have a great deal of trouble with.

    1. After thinking about it, I realized it's not a matter of pride that I don't seek help, it's that I abhor feeling weak and helpless. That also helps fuel my obsession for DIY.

  7. Great post, my friend! Right on the money!