The Friendship Café
Where Best Friends Learn How to Become Great Friends

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RULES OF FRIENDSHIP

ON THE FRIENDSHIP CAFÉ 

Friendship Rule Image

People Are Only Human — If They Weren’t,

Life Would Be Different

We all have to deal with them on a daily basis: weird and difficult people. At times of frustration and disappointment with these characters, a good friend of mine mutters, “Human beings, what a stupid concept!” Mark Twain must have felt the same when he wrote, “If man had created man he would be ashamed of his performance.”

Like my friend, you likely often wish that human beings — especially those with whom you live and work — were as logical, trustworthy, intelligent, kind, hard-working, fun-loving, and practical as you. In fact, you want to help thousands of people to be a lot less dysfunctional so that they can be more like you. No doubt the world would be a much better place.

Are you wrong in saying that so many human beings can be quite ignorant? Apparently not. Albert Einstein must have been generally disappointed with people when he wrote, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Frank Dane concurred with his classic statement: “Ignorance is never out of style. It was in fashion yesterday, it is the rage today, and it will set the pace tomorrow.”

Granted, there are a lot of ignorant human beings out there. But are all these ignorant people bad human beings or are they just different from you and me? At this point it is also worth asking: Are our unreasonable expectations of other people contributing to the ignorance and other flaws we see in them? Given that other people are not perfect, it’s best that we accept them as they are or else fall victim to their whims.

You will inevitably find that many people will hurt you in the event you let them. Certain critics will try to burst your bubble and knock you off your cloud. They will try to interfere with your plans and projects even when they have no direct interest in them. Irrespective of how much good you do on a project, someone, somewhere, somehow, will find reasons to complain about your performance.

Even friends and relatives will let you down, although you have just performed several special favors for them. You will find that many people don’t play by the same rules as you. Some will drive you crazy because they change their minds from one minute to the next. You and I agree that there are even certain people on this planet who probably shouldn’t be here.

But keep in mind that the roles are often reversed. You are also human and you will occasionally, or even frequently, let other people down. You will screw up and you will do dumb things and you will upset others. You won’t meet someone else’s high standards regardless of how hard you work at it. You will also criticize and reject other people, and potentially create the same effect on others as people who criticize and reject you have had on you.

You can accept that rocks are hard and water is wet. Then make allowances for the fact that people are only human. Sure, if they weren’t, life would be different. But with all the negative traits that humans tend to exhibit, they are still an important element in the happiness game. Human nature is fickle or outrageous at times. No doubt many people can be more dishonest, rude, unreasonable, inconsiderate, and ignorant than you. Just don’t freak out when they are.

The key to making people more pleasurable is to be less offended by human nature. Focus more on people’s positive qualities than the negative. Viewed in this way, humans can be accommodating, generous, inspiring, humorous, gentle, charitable, and forgiving.

In the midst of it all, spend a lot less time judging the human race. You have more important things to do with your life. Contrary to expectations, judging others is tedious and won’t make you many friends — besides, the last time I checked, judging other people was still God’s job. 

ARTICLE COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Ernie J. Zelinski

  All Rights Reserved 

It’s All Too Easy to Overestimate Your Ability

 to Change Others — Including Our Friends

Common sense tells us that we shouldn’t waste time on things that we can’t change. This applies, not just to situations and events, but to people as well. Yet all of us fall into the trap of trying to change people to the way we would like them to be. If you fall into this trap yourself, you should question whether it’s wise to try to transform others. Everything can make perfectly good sense if you never really think about it all that much — but sometimes you must.

Fact is, it’s all too easy to overestimate your ability to change others. This includes friends, relatives, lovers, and neurotics. Before you try to transform people into better human beings, first there is the issue of whether you should be trying to change them at all. Perhaps you are trying to reshape someone for “his or her own good.” Clearly, this is only a superficial rationalization for your attempts to manipulate someone to be like you would like him or her to be.

It is not your duty to perform the psychological brain surgery that may be necessary for certain people to be happy or successful in life. You should respect the fact that people have a right to live their own lives the way they choose. You may find a certain person’s way of life disgusting, but he or she may think your way of life is even more disgusting. So, who is right? Perhaps both of you are.

But so what? It doesn’t matter who is right. As long as a particular lifestyle is neither illegal nor physically harmful to anyone, the person living it should be left alone. Trying to change others is sometimes motivated by an erroneous belief that others should be doing things the way you would do them. Your way may be the right way and it may not. What’s more, even if your way is right, there may be more than one right way.

Perhaps, like disgraced former U.S. President Richard Nixon, you are convinced that you would have made a good pope. No doubt anyone with as much moral authority as you would put the present pope to shame. This still doesn’t give you the right to try to change anyone.

It’s foolish to think that God expects anyone to interfere in other people’s lives as some act of divine intervention. You may have high standards, but who is to say that everyone should be meeting them? If people don’t meet your standards, why try to change them? Spend less time with these individuals. Seek out those people who meet your standards and don’t need any guidance from you.

You may still feel inclined toward riding to the rescue of individuals who are facing major difficulties in their lives. It’s easy to fall into the temptation to try to change certain individuals — to have them be more motivated, more organized, more reasonable, or more trustworthy. But you must resist because it’s a mistake to try to change negative people — to expect their imminent transformation into more positive individuals. Your efforts will be futile.

You can give your sermon on the four corners of this planet to your heart’s content. Yet nobody is going to care if it doesn’t fit in with their own philosophy. How right Richard Bach was when he wrote, “No one can solve problems for someone whose problem is that they don’t want their problems solved.” Generally speaking, negative people don’t want to change; if they do change, it is only after a lengthy period — time you can’t afford to lose.

In the same vein, don’t make the mistake of trying to change friends or relatives. The worst mistake you can make is marrying someone in the hope that you can influence him or her to change sooner or later.

Nothing is more frustrating than being in love with someone who is not what you would like him or her to be. Most people are unwilling to change — even over the long term. The ones who are will do it on their own terms and only when they are ready. People change only if they want to, and when left to their own devices.

All things considered, we really can’t ever change anyone but ourselves. Trying to change someone else’s ways will be a total waste of your precious time. The wise thing to do is to mind your own business and spend that precious time changing yourself for the better. Do keep in mind that it takes all kinds of people to make an interesting and exciting world. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone were exactly like you.

ARTICLE COPYRIGHT © 2011 by Ernie J. Zelinski

  All Rights Reserved 

Friendship Book - 101 Really Important Things

Note: This article is excerpted from the book 101 Really Important Things You Already Know But Keep Forgetting by Ernie J. Zelinski

Friendship Quotes and Sayings about the

 Rules and Principles of Friendship

True wealth has nothing to do with money. True wealth is built from friends and family, from experiences and relationships — it is derived from a life filled with meaning. Without these things, money means nothing.

Do yourself a big favor this week, and spend some time with the people you love — particularly with your friends. Indeed, there are many fun things to do with friends.

Know the difference between friends and acquaintances.

Here are some quotes and sayings that express the rules and principles related to friendship:

You don't make friends, you earn them.
— Author Unknown

Friendship . . . It's not about having friends, it's about being one. Sacrificing your comforts and emotional stability to further improve theirs.
— Suzanne J, Starr

Don’t make friends with people you don’t know.
Friendship Proverb of the Chinese

To accept a favor from a friend is to confer one.
— John Churton Collins

Don't ask of your friends what you yourself can do.
— Quintus Ennius 

Lay down this rule of friendship: neither ask nor consent to do what is wrong. The plea, "for friendship's sake," is a discreditable one, and should not be admitted for a moment. We should ask from friends and do for friends only what is good.
— Cicero

Keep only cheerful, positive friends. You can pick your friends, and I like to choose those who are positive and people who challenge me. They make me feel good. They don't drag me down or make me angry at the world. Negative people see the difficulty in every opportunity, while positive people see the opportunity in every difficulty.
— Harvey Mackay

Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. 
— Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Never hurt your friends, not even in a joke.
— Unknown Wise Person

Don’t make friends with people you don’t know.
— Chinese Proverb

The best rule of friendship is to keep your heart a little softer than your heart.
— Unknown Wise Person

Don't abuse your friends and expect them to consider it criticism.
— Edgar W. Howe

Don't make your friends a dumping ground for your troubles.
— Author Unknown

Forget your woes when you see your friend.
— Priscian

When good cheer is lacking, our friends will be packing.
— Unknown Wise Person

The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words. 
— Cicero 

The essence of true friendship is to make allowance for another's little lapses.
— William Hazlitt

Between friends there is no need of justice.
— Aristotle

Count not him among your friends who will retail your privacies to the world.
— Publilius Syrus

Treat your friends like a bank account — refrain from drawing too heavily on either.
— Unknown Wise Person

Don't believe your friends when they ask you to be honest with them. All they really want is to be maintained in the good opinion they have of themselves.
— Albert Camus

Treat your friends as you do your picture, and place them in their
best light.
— Jennie Jerome Churchill

Love your friend with his fault.
— Unknown Wise Person

The first general rule for friendship is to be a friend, to be open, natural, interested; the second rule is to take time for friendship. Friendship, after all, is what life is finally about.
— Nels J. S. Ferre

Make no friends with those given to anger, and do not associate with hotheads, or you may learn their ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
— Bible: Hebrew, Proverbs 22:24-25.

Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities.
— James Fredericks

 

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Ernie J. Zelinski
 
All Rights Reserved
 


 

Top-10 List of Best Things Ever Said about Friendship

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a
friend.
— Plautus

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
— Sicilian Proverb

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be
stupid with them.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

On the road between homes of friends, grass does not grow.
— Norwegian proverb

If I don't have friends, then I ain't nothing.
— Billie Holiday

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.
— Samuel Butler 

To be rich in friends — is to be poor in nothing.
— Anon

A mere friend will agree with you, but a real friend will argue.
— Russian Proverb

Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A loyal best friend is someone who sticks up for you even when you're not there.
— Anon

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