How many of us have them?

My title speaks to a song, the 27+ among us shouldn't need to consult Google before continuing with knowing what the topic of conversation will be today.

Can I be a little serious for a while here?
Shiet, I didn't need your permission, I will continue, thank you.
Where was I going with this?
Oh! Start here:

... I will make it make sense before I am finished.

Let me first say that there have been several times over the last little while, being about 3-5 or so months that I had conceded to myself that I wasn't even going to WRITE this. Seriously, I was so committed to not doing it that I actually didn't even have a skeleton typed up and saved, then abandoned on my computer, and I have shit that I started YEARS ago and revisit just to see if I want to continue saved. It was that serious. I will thank someone, who will remain nameless, for the status message on Google chat that led to my clicking a link, which sparked the conversation on Tuesday morning. She's been on my mind all week as a result, I thank her for the inspiration and the push to go ahead.

Another sign was when I found and downloaded the Nas/DJ Green Lantern mixtape "The Nigger Tape." No mind is to be paid to the title and my earnest stance on that word, or the divide here, as it is one of those situations similar to the Dick Gregory/Richard Pryor/Paul Mooney approach to the word, all of whom I very much respect, but I digress... There was a song on the plate was called "Association", where a sentiment is spoken that has driven me to cease/cull MAJOR amounts of time spent with/on people down through the years: "You ARE who you associate with... Look around at your 5 closest friends, and that's what you are... If you don't wanna be that person, you know what you gotta do." I think it sounded like Will Smith's voice, but damned if I know what movie it came from. Also repeated in the song is "association breeds similarity," which makes perfect sense as well, in that spending major time with minor people will cause you, yourself to become a minor person.

My question, people, is "what are you loyal to?"
I mean that to say, what is it about those people you have in your circle that has you overlooking the DASTARDLY undesirable traits/habits they have, that you to remain loyal to them? Guys, you all have one acquaintance who seems to be hell bent on fucking everyone else's woman without conscience, so what makes your woman magically off limits? What keeps this dude in your collective? Well what about the one who barely works, yet blows whatever cash he DOES get on weed and alcohol, and regularly gets belligerently intoxicated to the point where you must stand between him and a fistfight at least twice monthly?
Ladies, you ALL have at least one acquaintance who you have WATCHED smile in the face of a mutual acquaintance, as if they were life-long friends, but as soon as that person was out of earshot, the first thing out of your friend's mouth was "... that bitch," followed by some diatribe making the no-longer-in-earshot individual out to be the scourge of fucking humanity... Remember that? Sure you do, and if you don't, then you are likely the "... that bitch" that she is discussing as soon as you're not around. Sometimes this same (or one not terribly dissimilar) girl has gone after the mate of another (or perhaps that same "... that bitch" acquaintance) in an attempt at either spoiling whatever is making "... that bitch" happy, or to spread a taste of what makes her miserable around.

Again, I ask you what is so redeeming about these people that you continue to offer them your loyalty? Are these people an accessory that you're carrying toward a fundamental goal, are they hangers-on who are actually a hindrance to your reaching said goal, are they a partner, offering common interest and effort to the achievement of what you're looking to reach? What has taken place at the hands of your "friends" to have actually gained, earned and maintained your trust? No, not all gained from exchanges over the course of a life are to be tangible, and we know this. It is silly and damn near naive to assume that someone is a "friend" simply because they know your name/number/someone you know or have been nice to you at some point.
Look at it like this: is EVERY one of your statements of desire or what you drive to attain met with something negative (e.g. "why would you want to do THAT?" or something like "that is fucking silly/stupid/unrealistic/etc.) with no further explanation of reasoning for their stance on the subject at hand? Real people offer solutions when opposition to a concept is necessary, life isn't all rainbows and fucking unicorns, but most of us knew that already. The fact is that these kinds of people have NO business in your circle.
See, the old saying goes that "Misery Loves Company," and the fact remains that if you're not about to provide that company, miserable people WILL go out of their way to CREATE that company of you. For example; single women or women in shitty relationships will do what they will to make sure their "friends" (this term is HUGELY loosening in this application) stay miserable, remain single or VERY unhappy in their relationships... Observe and tell me where I am wrong... I'll wait.
Broke dudes, those in shitty jobs, or the ones who cannot seem to score a woman for the life of them will make sure that those around them are on their level. Observe and tell me where I'm wrong... I'll wait.
This is very sad, and the unfortunate means to the breaking of this chain is most often to regroup and change who you spend time with.
"But Phillip, those are my 'friends' I can't just cut them off!"
To that, I respond "bullshit, those are "acquaintances," and never were your "friends," they're petty and immature, you'll never become what your creator intended for you to be if left to their devices," you can either demand the desirable of those you choose for your circle or become whatever whatever the designated rulemakers of the clique drive you to be. Do you REALLY want to be what some bitter, short-sighted and jaded individual wants you to be, or do you want to strive to be better than that? Your answer to that question will more than likely hinge largely upon whether it is YOU who is that individual or whether you've already fallen victim, so I implore you to think, then choose your response wisely AND honestly. If your answer is not what you fancy yourself to be, then I suggest some soul searching. Keep in mind, as well, that you are not what you SAY you are, you are what you can SHOW that you are, relating to the "believe half of what you see and none of what you hear" edict.

Need it any more clearly?
Friendship is not judgmental, but can offer genuinely explainable concern when you're genuinely fucking up.
Friendship does not laugh in the face of your dreams, rather makes an earnest effort to understand and help you to them wherever possible.
Friendship does not smile in your face in front of the world, then try and fuck your significant other as soon as they think that no one is paying attention.
Friendship is not a dependent or codependent relationship, rather a symbiosis.... Look that up if you need to (hint: right-click on the word symbiosis" and open it in a new tab/window, then continue from right here).
Friendship is not supposed to be a perfectly presented state of nirvana, and that right there is the level of difference that strengthens, rather than divides. The real will live through adversity, simple as that. My best friend and I have been such since 1994 for a reason, I think I have explained what that is to this point in this presentation.

I could go on and on until we're all blue in the face, but where would that get any of us? Those who can honestly say they know me know what type of person I am, and whether or not they can consider themselves "part of my circle," and even those who may not be quite sure can readily understand the fissure, if any exists. I have those around me that I love like brothers and sisters, including my own brother and sister, I have those who are just on the other side of that sphere, and those whose friendships I value so much that I will go out of my way to make sure that they know of it. I am not the one to suggest that my way is the mandate, but I surely offer the sustained efficiency of it to the court as evidence. Have I been prematurely driven to cut people loose due to perception down through the years? Fuck yes, and I do so with mind on the fact that my perception is my version of the truth, and govern my selves (yes, plural) accordingly.

Again, I ask everyone to take a step back and look at the greasy shit that the people you call "friends" are/have been involved in, then give a long hard questioning to yourself "why?"
You only owe it to yourself to have real people in your collective, no?

I find anyone who may receive this, be it via an email from having subscribed or simply having stumbled upon it some other way, valuable and thank you for taking the time to filter through my opinion here. I may not be done, I am just not able to drag you any further into my feelings. I would like to personally thank one person who will remain nameless (unless she self-identifies) for the final sign that made me go forward with the scribe. A song I happened to have listened to over the few days I have been chipping away at this includes in the chorus "any love you hold inside, let me see 'cause it won't mean a thing when I leave," and I will take that as my cue to tell you all that I love you all, even if you hate my guts and can't or won't tell me.


You know bruh, I've been wrestling with this same issue for years. It's difficult to do but sometimes one has to distance oneself from folks that are a negative influence. For a multitude of reasons, one who has a plan, one who has goals, needs to get away from people who are making piss poor decisions, being irresponsible, etc. There is nothing wrong with desiring to be around people who are about something other than bullshit.

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