A true friend: someone who wants what is best for you, is friends with you because they want to help empower you (giver).
This is what I learned in life:
You can divide almost all people into two categories: others who want what is the best for you, and others who want the best for them.
Or simply put:
Givers vs takers.
A commune of givers
Cindy and I spent a lovely week with our friends, and stayed with our friends Kevin and Jenae, and we had one of the best experiences of our lives. Wonderful walks, talks, and soulful home cooked foods.
And I was wondering to myself —
Why is it that I’m so happy with them?
And this is it:
We were all givers — a little commune of givers.
Which made me wonder:
Perhaps the best friends/groups are the ones which there are no “bad actors” (takers)?
Of course all of us take as well. But certainly there are people who are pure takers (leeches). These people are to be avoided and eliminated from your life at all costs.
Another tricky thing I learned:
There are some people who want what is best for you, but it is a means of somehow benefiting themselves. Or they’re living vicariously through you.
These people are also to be avoided, because:
- They’re taking advantage of you.
- If you don’t act in a way which pleases them and their ego, they will hate/resent you.
- If you don’t optimize your life to please these people, they will end up despising you, and you will also feel bad.
The strong desire isolation
I’m a very social person, and I like being around others. Yet, ultimately — I think I prefer creative isolation. When I’m thinking, writing, or making things, I cannot be bothered. I cannot be interrupted. For myself the thing which angers me the most is when I’m in the creative “flow” and I’m interrupted.
I got this idea from Nietzsche, who essentially said:
“Ironically enough, we must protect the strong from the weak”.
“The strong desire isolation, whereas the weak desire to be around others.”
The reason I like this idea is because for myself as a strong person, I prioritize my own self-growth and development. I don’t like having my strength being squandered or wasted on anything I don’t consider essential or important. I also don’t like being goaded into doing things I don’t care for.
But the problem is I’m a giver. It’s in my nature, and also my mom is a huge giver. But the downside is that I’m often taken advantage of, and I’ve witnessed my mom being taken advantage of her whole life. She didn’t know how to say “no”, and she didn’t have the strength to cut toxic people from her life (for example she needed outside intervention to give her the strength to get rid of my dad, who I consider the most poisonous person I’ve ever witnessed).
I think the basic solution is to become more individual. To discover more joy from yourself — reading books, listening to music you like, going on long and pointless “flaneur-style” walks, thinking more, writing more, creating more, and making more. The last decade I discovered that the best things to direct your energy towards is this:
Create more things which is 100% in your control.
This is why in some ways I’m anti-collaboration. The problem with “collaboration” is that often, nothing is ever done or accomplished. For example I’ve found that most “art collaborations” fail. There is a diffusion of responsibility — it becomes unclear who needs to actually do the difficult task of building and creating.
This is why I love photography — it is a great individual-focused creative activity. I also love powerlifting because it depends on me 100% (I don’t really like any sports which require me to depend on others)— and I don’t like having gym partners because I don’t like being slowed down, or going at a different rhythm or cadence of my own.
Barbell isolation and social activity
My basic idea:
Perhaps during the day we should creatively isolate ourselves from others, but we should 100% socialize intensely for dinner and at night.
This “barbell” (embracing the extremes) seems like a more optimal strategy for being more creatively productive, yet still deriving the maximum from social activity.
- Identify and distance/cut the leeches from your life.
- Creatively isolate yourself during the day, but be extremely social at night.
- Treat the notion of friendship as more sacred. Also start to classify your social circle into two groups: people who want what is best for you, or people who want what is best for them.