I am that guy!
What kind of guy? I think the adage that sums it up best is the following statement: “known by many, close friends of a few.”
I talk to everyone. I believe neighbors should be part of a community. I engage people in the challenges we face at home, at work and at play. Life was never meant to be a spectator sport. It requires participation. In fact, laughter, tears, love, joy, sadness and every emotion in between are the byproducts of a life well lived.
My friendship is unconditional. My friends are liberals and conservatives. They are fat and skinny. They are quirky, straight-laced, adventurers, worry warts, hard workers, lazy, kind hearted and in some cases, quite miserly. And I accept each and every one of them for who they are because beneath all of the labels, they all have good hearts; they are good people.
We all have our roads to travel. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to live his or her life. I love my friends for who they are and they get to decide who they are going to be. They get to choose the road they want to travel. And I accept all of them for exactly who they have become.
So that begs the question once again, what kind of guy are you? I have a close friend who once called me the best “foul weather friend” he has ever had. I was offended at first. Everyone knows what a “fair weather” friend is and by simple deduction, I made some assumptions as to what a “foul weather friend” might be.
Well, I don’t need to explain to anyone what happens when we “assume” because I think we all know. But a few years back, I asked my friend, “What did you mean when you said, ‘I was the best foul weather friend you have ever had?’”
“You’re the go-to-guy.”
“Yeah, the go-to-guy”
“I don’t think I follow.”
“Do you know what a foul weather friend is?”
I didn’t want to sound dumb but I also wanted to know what my friend thought of me. Besides, I really didn’t know what a “foul weather” friend was but the words ‘go-to-guy’ weren’t part of any assumptions I had made about the reference, so I looked at my friend and said quite honestly, “No, I don’t.”
“Okay. Let’s see if I can explain this correctly. You are kind, stubborn, opinionated, loud, caring, extremely entertaining and funny, sometimes the life of the party, at others, a little overbearing, generous, loyal, creative, over the top and most importantly, you would do anything for anyone in need.”
“I still don’t understand how that makes me a ‘foul weather’ friend.”
“You’re like a fine wine; you’re an acquired taste. Most people don’t understand who you are at first. They love the entertaining side but then, as they get to know you, the other stuff comes through just as strongly. It’s hard to process all at once…”
“…This just gets better and better, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” he said matter-of-factly. “People come to know that you are the guy they can count on. You are the guy we call when our life hits the skids. When we get a new job or a promotion, we can’t wait to tell you. We trust you with our family, our secrets and most importantly, when the rest of the world shuns us, we know you won’t. You understand that people make mistakes and you help us through those tough times. Fair weather friends disappear when the rain starts falling, foul weather friends don’t. You’re the go-to-guy, you’re good under pressure.”
I walked away from that lunch with a new appreciation for “foul weather” friends. It explained a lot about my relationships with people. I am known to many and will continue to be for the rest of my life. I talk to everyone and I go out of my way to make people feel welcome. It’s who I am.
When I look at my close friends, most of them are “foul weather” friends as well and we wear that label like a badge of honor. God has given us all a similar purpose: to treat all people with kindness, respect, and love.
So here it is in a nutshell, once again. My friendship is unconditional. My friends are liberals and conservatives. They are fat and skinny. They are quirky, straight-laced, adventurers, worry warts, hard workers, lazy, kind hearted and in some cases, quite miserly. And I accept each and every one of them for who they are because beneath all of the labels, they all have good hearts; they are good people. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to live his or her life. I love them because of who they are and they decide who that is! Accept it, because like it or not, I accept them just as they are!
Because… I am that guy!