I used to have some friends who would say or do something, often something in bad taste or otherwise anti-social, and follow it after a brief pause with the disclaimer, “Just kidding.” As if it’s only just a joke; that if I don’t "get it,” then I don’t have a sense of humor; that I have to disassociate myself from the demeaning nature of the “joke” because it is “all in good fun.” I have come to some conclusions about these now former friends: They are not “just kidding,” they are just testing. They are testing my limits, testing my patience, testing my tolerance, testing my intelligence and all the time pushing the envelope. Taken to an extreme, they are the friends who might take something shiny and if (and only if) they get caught will play it off as a joke. Funny.
Obviously, these are not friends. Oh, sure, there are the isolated instances where someone will say something off-color and regret it. Indeed, they might really have been kidding. I know I have been guilty… and what I really meant was “I’m sorry.” Everyone slips up from time to time and damage control is sometimes required… the sincerity, however, is there. It is when the constant pushing of the limits of respectful conduct is one’s modus operandi that motives must be called into question. Is it an attempt to improve upon one’s self image at another’s expense? Perhaps it is a serious lack of social skills that prevents these poor souls from showing any authenticity. Maybe low self-esteem is better than no self-esteem.
Regardless, friends don’t disrespect friends. In fact, decent folk don’t disrespect anyone and tend to hold their friends in the highest regard. Isn’t that what attracted them in the first place? One would hope. I am too far along in this life to deal with the superficial and the shallow. It can’t be about what I have, what I can do or my status. It better not be about race, color or creed and of course, beauty comes from the inside. It’s about who I am, my values and principles. It has nothing to do with political ideology or social standing but everything to do with respect.
I would hate to be in a position where I attracted “groupies” - people that would give anything to be my “friend.” Without knowing one little thing about me, they would claim to be forever faithful. Spare me. I feel sorry for those that must sort through the multitudes to find those who are genuine - those who cannot be bought at any price. My friends today do not care what I have, but I have in the past been sucked in by those who did. They are not friends…
They are parasites.