My mom has a friend who always used to say, "Look at your friends with one eye closed." Followed by a wink, of course.
Well, her whole saying was, "Look at your enemies with both eyes open and your friends with one eye closed."
But it's the friends part that intrigues me. To me, it means making allowances for imperfections. Showing a little tolerance if their ideas don't always agree with your own. Focusing on the things you like about them instead of on the stuff you don't.
Now, I know there are some points of contention that just can't be surmounted. For instance, if you're a serial killer, I'm probably not going to overlook that. OTOH, I could possibly be persuaded, given the right circumstances...
If you have a really nice boat and only kill bad guys, maybe we can talk.
Friends are funny critters. There are categories, I think.
The people with whom you share something in common at a given time of your life. Other young parents when your kids are little. Maybe somebody who enjoys knitting "cozies" for everything, the way you do--the one who really gets that no small appliance is complete without a colorful yarn covering. Or even, you know, other people crazy enough to pursue publishing. With these friends, you always have a ready topic of conversation: your common interest, whatever it may be.
People whose company you enjoy. Maybe you get together for dinner, and keep up with each other's family.You like them. Hanging out together is always fun.
These are ones who might as well be family. (And may even be better than family. I mean, you can choose your friends.) The ones you'd call for bail money. You trust them not to post your mug shot on Facebook, no matter how funny it is. They know enough about you to blackmail you a hundred ways to Sunday, and you know they won't, because not only do you trust them, you also have tons of blackmail material on them.
You take each other for granted, in the best possible way. You know if you ask them for anything, it will be done, if it's humanly possible. They hate the people who are mean to you and love the ones who treat you well. (I married mine.)
When I first started getting active online, TG warned me to be wary of people I met online, because there was no way of knowing they were who they claimed to be. "For all you know, that could be a 50-year-old man, sitting there in his underwear, scratching his balls," was the way he put it.
(Yeah, just try to get that image out of your head.)
Well, I've met a few of my internet acquaintances in person by now, and I have to tell you, none of them look like the type to sit in front of a computer scratching their nether regions. In fact, they've pretty much been how they represented themselves on the screen.
Could be I've just been lucky, though.
I know! Let's take a little survey, shall we? How many of y'all are really 50-year-old men, sitting there in your underwear, reading this while you're ratching an itch? Please tell me in the comments.
While you're at it, if you're so inclined, tell me what you have to close one eye to with your friends. Or, if you're feeling introspective (and brave), what they have to close an eye to with you.
And here's hoping you look at me with one eye closed. And not just because I squirted you with my fake corsage. ;)