Sunday, April 08, 2007

Measure of a Friend

Treat people with respect and they will respect you. Treat them like garbage and you won’t win friends.

Deal with people honestly and they must respect that, even if they don’t always agree with you. Give me honest hurt over a fair-weather friend any day.

Don’t try to be someone you aren’t in order to gain something. Eventually you’ll be proven a fraud and then you’ll have no credibility at all.

I would rather someone come at me straight and say, “I don’t know you but I want something from you because I think you can help my career” than to pretend to be my friend and then disappear the minute they get what they want… or figure out they won’t get what they’re after.

I would rather make a friend, build a relationship with someone I can turn to for advice, share my ups and downs with (and share their ups and downs too) than check off another source I can use on a list.

I write reviews. I do interviews. I publish stories. This is part of what I do. There isn’t a person on earth who can stop me from spreading the word when I’m enthusiastic about a book or an author. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ to the people who inspire me and entertain me…

Not something I do because I expect to get my back scratched in return.

See, for me, this is where it really is all about the writing and nothing else. We don't have to be best friends for me to like your work. We don't even have to get along. I don't need to vote the same way you do or have the same religious convictions.

For me, it's the writing. Not how much it might help my career to sing your praises. If my endorsement is bought it rings hollow.

All I really want is decency. You don’t have to like me… But if you don’t know me you also don’t need to stick a goddamn knife in my back. That’s how you become a person I never want to know.

You know what I want, more than a beer at the next con? For you to tell me when I fuck up if you care enough for us to get along, or for you to leave me alone. And don’t be a condescending jerk. Don’t patronize me. If you don’t want to hear from me just tell me to get lost. I have real appreciation for the honesty that goes with, “Happy to have my work reviewed by you, glad you like it but I can’t stand your guts and I don’t give a shit about you, don’t email me about anything that isn’t business.” Keep on the professional level and steer clear of the personal. I can respect that.

When business overlaps with friendships and family it forms a sticky web that’s easy to get caught in. It’s far worse to try using a friendship to get a business advantage, because if there are problems you end up in a real mess on more than one level.

Your real friends are the ones who let you know when you screw up but want to sort things out because, while they know you aren’t perfect, they know you’re a decent person and like you. The people who take the first slip-up as an out and kick you to the curb were never your friend anyway.

I used to always accept people as friends first, and give them that until they proved themselves otherwise. It’s not something I can do anymore. Better to have three true friends than a thousand false ones. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

10 comments:

SAND STORM said...

Wow! I don't know what happened (again) but it doesn't sound good. Keep your head high and just be you, your friends will be by your side. I've found that when the chips are down you'll soon know who your true friends are!

Jersey Jack said...

Gosh, there seems to be a lot of turmoil up there in the north woods. I say, if they can't take a joke, let them drink Drano. Sand Storm is right on, too. Now is when you find out who your friends are.

Please cheer up. Jerks do NOT MATTER.

Amra Pajalic said...

I have to agree that I vet people. My measure to see whether I want people in my life is do they do what they say? Everyone talks about what they want to do, will do etc, but how many follow through.

The thing about writing is that everyone is told to network, but some people interpret this to mean get to know people who will be of use to you. Lack of sincerity will come out, and then you're up shit creek.

At the end of the day networking should be about being courteous and professional, and only getting personal if you genuinely like a person. There's no reason to be insincere and a liar.

This person will keep showing their colours and pay the price.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Sand Storm, totally true you find out who your friends are when the chips are down, and Jersey Jack, I like that saying.

But it isn't that there's been one thing that resulted in this. Sometimes what comes up on my blog is the result of a lot of long-term thinking and a number of things contribute to it, not necessarily that there's been a recent blow-up!

Amra, follow through is huge. And you like to think you can judge sincerity...

Evil Kev said...

I think the best way is to be consistantly insincere.

I sincerely mean that

Sandra Ruttan said...

Hmmm. I'm familiar with your philosophy, Evil Kev. And your execution...

SAND STORM said...

Johnny Carson used to say "that to make it in Hollywood you have to be honest and sincere....and once you can fake those you have it made!"

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ha! I love that!

Jersey Jack said...

I've always though J.R. Ewing said it best on the old TV hit Dallas. When asked to what did he attribute his huge financial success, JR said, "Once you give up your integrity, the rest is a piece of cake."

Sandra Ruttan said...

These things should be printed on signs! Too funny. And it reminds me of some authors who cornered me at a con once...