When you were younger your mother told you, “don’t hang around those bad kids.” But, as you got older and moved out, it wasn’t a case of hanging out with the wrong crowd, it was a case of hanging out with any crowd at all. As children we have options, choices of different people to hang around. We are surrounded by hundreds of kids, all at our fingertips. As children we can pick and choose what social circles we wish to be a part of. Of course, this is dependent on the wisdom of how to control ourselves and others to accept us.
Let’s fast forward ten years to the present. You’re an adult. You may have contact with as little as no people to up to hundreds of other adults on a daily basis. However, that forced socialization no longer exists as it did as a child. Surprisingly, many adults lead very lonely existences, compared to their childhood days. They may have a 9 to 5, or a horrible night shift or even worse a thirteen hour shift. They come home and are exhausted and simply want to “veg” out and not answer phones nor see another human. Sound familiar? After years of this, they find themselves alienated. In an effort to change this stifling situation, they strike out on their own and subconsciously seek friendship.
Well, what could possibly go wrong with this? The emphasis is on the “subconsciously”. In their desperation, they may end up with that same “don’t hang around those bad kids“, that their mother warned them about. The lack of wisdom of how to control ourselves and others to accept us has stagnated just as it did as a child. As a child it was simply based on how “cool” you acted. As adults, we complicate it with social status as well, something most of us, seemingly, have no control over. [I’ll correct your error in thinking about your lack of control over social status in a later article] So now we feel we are relegated to hanging out with, at best, hoodlums and “down to earth” people. We tell ourselves they are “down to earth”, which is code for – they are just as immoral and clueless as I am. Oh, that might sound harsh but… at least be honest to yourself. Think for one second. When people are relaying stories of some icon they hold up as being “down to earth”, usually it’s accompanied by some example of them saying something filthy or totally off-color. “He was so down to earth, he smoked marijuana with me in the bath room.” Hardly a vote for his upstanding citizenry.
We as adults then fall into the trap of “Be my friend.” Our subconscious mind takes over when we approach someone that we have sized up to be equal to our social standing and appears nonthreatening. We then latch on to these lower status people and befriend them. The other person reciprocates because you might be of a higher status than they are and thus are immediately accepted by them. Months later, or even years, you discover this lower status person to be completely unhealthy to be around. But, what can you do? There is no possible way you could “unfriend” them. For men, that’s unheard of. For women, the more social butterfly, you feel you need as many friends as you can get.
The problem is that you are allowing your subconscious to dictate what you should be consciously doing. You are letting pangs of loneliness dictate your course of action. You could be setting yourself for emotional and financial disaster based on the whims of your subconscious.
I say to you, seek out a better pond to fish in. Seek better fish. The wisdom of how to control yourself and others is so simple. Being crass, unwashed, base and filthy minded is obviously not the way to win good, solid, upstanding friends. There is a lot to be said for the old finishing schools we used to send our little girls to. Remember back when debutante balls and cotillions were the norm? They were announced in the local paper. These are the types of events you should be attending. Donating to charity will net you some much more acceptable, quality friends than hanging out at the local pool hall or juke joint. Even a library should be a step above a night club, potential friendship wise.
Get out of the “Be my friend” mode and step into the “I need to improve my social circle” zone. Have a conscious objective about whom you meet and be picky about it. Think of building a reputation for yourself. These old fashioned concepts originated for a reason. “Don’t hang out with those bad kids“, still applies in your adult life.
If you start hanging out with a more educated crowd… If you start hanging out with a more stable crowd, i.e. married with children… If you start hanging out with people involved in activities [and I don’t mean smoking marijuana], I feel safe in saying that you’ll find your own self uplifted. And, I’m not saying that educated, married, working people are better. I am saying that educated, working, married people discuss more things than just where’s their next meal. We as humans always need to grow. And, conversation that goes beyond basic needs uplift us. Conversations about civic duty, politics, religion uplifts us and makes us feel like there’s more to life than just wondering if you want black eyed peas or sardines and crackers for dinner.
Kevin Cardinale of Boundless Enterprise
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