By Hans Ebert
You’re judged by the company you keep. My parents drummed this into me and I kept along this path for years until ego got the better of me and it became an adult version of being with the cool kids. But when swept along by enablers feeding off wherever you can take them, the company become strays and false friendships are formed and last long past their Use By date. And in this day and age of “engaging” on social media, “followers” become “friends” until you reach that point where you’re hit with a large dose of reality and jolted into the land of common sense.
It’s about taking stock of your life and prioritising those who really matter. It’s not about taking in strays and for reasons that make no sense undertaking various acts of kindness other than feeling pity. Are these ever repaid? Of course not. They’re taken for granted and always detonate along the way. There are of course also those acts of kindness that can take one into some extremely perilous and dysfunctional relationships.
If looking back on the friendships made after a career in advertising, journalism and music, there would be less than ten people I would consider friends- those one can trust and who’ll be there for you. Really be there and not just the false promises. The rest? Acquaintances at the most and really not very important ones.
Having reasonably recently been involved in the horse racing industry- involved as opposed to being in the thick of it- there are probably two and a half individuals who would be considered friends. Again, plenty of acquaintances, but where there’s no trust, and no engaging in the real world, and too many cliques and click baits, even with all its problems, there cannot ever be the chance of a friendship. No one even passes Old Kent Road.
As for social media, there are zero friends. One might enjoy the company of a few people actually met in “real time”, but the rest are only names with nothing else there. It’s like online dating. A few acquaintances have jumped headfirst onto online dating sites where some have even married those found there whereas others show photos of the new someone in their lives even though they’re still to actually meet.
One such person has been seeing the same girl for eight years. They’re still to meet. She’s a single mother in Kiev and he’s penniless in Paris.
A couple of girlfriends I once dated are with men they’ve met on online dating sites and who have become marriages of convenience. They have bailed them outta financial problems and offered them security. These are sugar daddies. It’s no different to being a highly paid escort.
It is what it is and it works for both sexes as the male of the species who’s down on their luck is also looking for that emotional and financial security. So what you have is this fake world of make believe and with everyone carefully keeping up pretences.
Whatever happened to meeting someone, eyes meet and where one knew from holding hands that this was meant to be and that there couldn’t be a day that went by without being with each other? Those days are gone because romance is gone. Romance is gone because honesty has been replaced by games and pettiness.
Once upon a love, there was someone in my life who would say, “Romance me.” The feeling was there, but that simple action was put on Hold. I always thought it could wait. It couldn’t and that time together faded to black.
It’s still about believing in romance, however, and how much music plays in this dance of life. The problem is that it takes two to tango but the right partner is becoming someone almost impossible to find as, again, technology and sites and social media platforms have ripped out that much-needed emotional quotient. The heart of the matter.
It’s become all about the challenge and the conquest rather than working to make sure it works with the right one. About remembering where the first one went wrong and not bludgeoning the same mistake to death.
Like collecting online “friends”, we’ve stopped being choosy or are so locked into whatever happened when you pressed Enter that’s become the rest of your life.
Our parents had it right. We’ve been lousy students. We’ve also been childish adults. Shame on us.