Maybe its time to tell your friend to sod off!

If you think Bad Company is awesome and Bad Company is awful, you are right! Bad Company, the band, is one of the true greats of rock and roll. Bad Company, the friend, is one of life’s tragic, yet avoidable, mistakes. From time to time, it does us all a lot of good to take stock of our friendships. The familiar idiom, “you are who your friends are” holds a lot of truth. Do your friends lift you up, challenge you, teach you, and inspire you? Do they make you a better person? Or do your friends wear you down, depress you, use you and abuse you? Do they stifle your opportunities for growth? Do they take and never give? Do your friends fill you with joy and laughter, or do they rain on your parade then leave you to hang out and dry? If so, maybe its time to tell your friend(s) to sod off!

Its been said a person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with. Certainly the company you keep has an important influence on you, for better or worse. Take a sincere look at your closest friends because they are your biggest influences. Whether you consciously know it or not, you come to emulate them in one way or another. Ask yourself some basic questions. Are my friends happy and successful? Are they maturing in life and becoming increasingly better people over time? Or, are my friend miserable, bottom feeders? Are they content to merely exist, and maintain status quo…or worse yet, tumble downhill?

Have you ever noticed successful people surround themselves with other successful people. They want to hang with folks who achieve goals, and make things happen. They want to pay attention, learn and improve. They know the proverb “Iron sharpens iron1 to be true. They also realize that to remain sharp, the blade must be consistently honed. The thing about this river of life, when you stop paddling upstream, you do not remain in a constant place. Rather, the currents immediately begin dragging you back downstream. Good company will keep you strong, motivated and focused. Bad company steals your paddles.

Stop now and take inventory. I mean it….seriously…STOP NOW and take inventory! Who do you surround yourself with? Are they motivated people who reach for the stars and live their dreams? Or, are they lazy, unambitious whiners who do nothing more than complain about their circumstances? Do they look up to others who are successful and seek to learn from them? Or, do they focus all attention on themselves, poke fun and belittle the achievements of others? There are basically two types of people: those who build up and those who tear down. Or, keeping with my example: those who help you navigate and paddle upstream against the currents and rapids of life; and those who insure that you float downstream with them. You can accomplish great things in life if you choose the right company. You can also ponder a wasted life as you lie on your death bed. Which will it be? You only get one shot at this.

Bad company corrupts good character.2 Let’s examine the character of bad company and see why it is high time to tell them all to f* off! [insert any “f” word you like here: “fly off,” “frak off,” or whatever…it’s your choice. In our PG13 Version, we use the British slang  sod off with its various degrees of “get lost” meaning. Just remember:

They tear you down…

1. The Bounty Paper Towel. This is the self-absorbed bad company. They are downright narcissistic or, at least, in the apprenticeship program. Their battle-cry is “It’s all about me baby!” They live and exist to puff up their feathers and parade them around for all to see. They desire for all talk to be centered on them. They don’t care about you or your needs. You exist merely as an audience. They are not interested in what you have done, what you are doing and what you plan to do. They want you to always care about how they are feeling, but they could care less about how you are feeling. Whatever is going on in their life, at present, is more important and more interesting than whatever is going on in your life. If they just purchased a new big screen television, rest assured it is better than yours. If you both have the same job, you can bet the paper towel friend works harder, longer hours and is more skilled. This same friend’s vacation last Summer was surely much more fun and exciting than yours. The list goes on ad nauseum.

I once had a friend that was a church-hopper. He would go from congregation to congregation looking for the “perfect” church. He would always come back and complain about this or that, and why he would not return. On one occasion I told him he was wasting his time. I suggested he give up his search and start his own “perfect” church. I informed him that his congregation of one might be lonely, but it would save him a lot of gas. I then proceeded to wad up this paper towel and toss it in the trash.

They wear you down…

2. The Drowning Pool. Oh, the pathetic pity seeker. Their battle-cry is “Pity me or I die.” They come in the guise of one who seeks your advice and guidance. After all, whatever it is that has befallen them has left them in such hardship they don’t know how in the world they will make it. They will take up hours, even days, of your time drawing out your pity. All the while they pile up a Mt. Everest of troubles constructed from a shovel full of dirt. They live to make you feel sorry for them.

To make matters worse, the drowning pool has a one-way path. When you need to vent, or when you could use a little bit of counsel…they are as short as the pay at McDonald’s. They expect you to be tenderhearted to their every concern, but they do not reciprocate.

An old drowning pool friend was having marital problems. He would come see me at all hours, and once awakened me in the wee hours just so he could wail on my shoulder. I would give him good solid advice, and it would go in one ear and out the other. The next time we’d meet I always asked if he had tried what I suggested. He would inevitably change the subject to how his wife was causing all the problems in their relationship. I could see this friendship was a waste of my time. I retrieved my life vest and let this one drown in his self-pity.

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