It occurs more recently than in years past, but someone will say to me, “They are your friend? How can you be friends with that person? Do you really know what they have done?” Well, more than likely I do know. In fact, their philosophies and beliefs may be 180o out of sync with mine. Their sine curve may be in a trough when mine is at crest, but they are still my friend.

Sure, there are people who pursued certain actions to such an extreme that I had to say, “That’s it, no more contact with these people. They are not good for my soul. In fact, they make me want to revert to being that person that I used to be and gave up years ago.” They are not or no longer my friends. You have those people also and yet some of the ones that are on your “no longer” list are not necessarily on mine.

I understand that if you blackball somebody, you would like for everyone who calls themselves your friend to do the same. I feel the same way. We together, you and I, want the entire world to know what this person done and why they should be banished from society. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. Like I mentioned earlier, there are people who are the exact polar opposite of me, but we are friends anyway. They don’t argue with my opinions or beliefs and I don’t argue with theirs. It just works out that way.

They are, however, aware of what I believe and where I stand. Occasionally we might even have discussions about the very items that we hold opposing beliefs on. That’s always interesting or not so much. I found out a longtime ago that you can seldom argue someone out of what they believe. I have seen people make amazing changes. Changes that you would never imagine, moving from one belief to the total opposite position. It was not because someone argued with them until they were blue, but because they seen something more compelling than what they currently held to.

You might consider this; that thing that you have deemed them unworthy, well maybe, just maybe their friendship with me may impact them in a way that would move them into a position of grace and mercy from you. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot, right?

I should probably take this advice myself, but then the world would never know what abysmal acts these people committed and how I will never be exonerated. Well, if there is anything that 2020 has taught us is that; Life’s tough, suck it up buttercup or “It’s a dog eat dog world, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear.”

Well, here’s to all of you that I call friends, but unfortunately can’t call each other friend! I feel your pain, and I have a list that I would like to share with you. Hopefully, there are some on this list that will cause me to say, “They’re your friend?”

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.