Thursday, July 5, 2012

Friendship, Back in the Olden Days

Friendship is something I take seriously. I keep my friends for life. What bothers me most about social networking is the casual definition of "friend." That is, some people take the attitude that they will be your "friend" until you do or say something that makes them hate you, and in the process deny themselves of forging real relationships in an age when it should be easier than ever.

Back in the olden days, when I was a girl and I had to walk three miles through 6-foot snowdrifts to get to school in 120-degree heat, being a friend meant something more than being just another face on someone's list. To me, a true friend doesn't care how you think or what you think. A true friend accepts you for who you are, no questions asked. A true friend appreciates your differences because that is what makes you unique. A true friend will pick up where you last left off no matter how much time has passed since your last contact. A true friend is there through thick and thin. Period.

Recently, a local musician who had asked to be my "friend" on Facebook told me he had thought about blocking me after he'd read my book on Buck Owens. Why? Because I had told the truth about how Buck had lived his life instead of perpetuating common fiction and folklore. He was angry with me because the book had come out after Buck had died and the singer could no longer defend himself. Never mind that truth is the greatest defense in a court of law and there was not much Buck could have done to defend his fiction beyond denigrating me and my work. My alleged "friend" said one female singer, who had been friends with Buck back in the day, had told him my book was the honest truth while another male Nashville musician denied that it was. I said, "Well, (insert four-letter name here--really, he has a four-letter name), who are you going to believe? Someone who knew the man in Bakersfield and had a personal connection with him or somebody here who had nothing but a passing professional contact with the man?" As I pointed out to my "friend," it is my responsibility as a professional journalist to tell the truth because I would prefer people think of me as an asshole with principles than an unprincipled asshole any day.

Obviously, he chose to believe the man in Nashville because both he and his wife "blocked" me on Facebook. Do I care? Not particularly, because I would just as soon not be "friends" with anybody who denies the truth. Any truth.  

The bottom line is: Don't ask to be my friend just because you think I am "somebody" unless you want a friend for life.