Cleverness is not wisdom.

~ Euripides ~

Beware of False Friendships

November 26th, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 31 secs

Is this the way to true friendships?

You know better. But it’s hard to resist. Having people make out they like you and want to be your friend is tough to repel. That’s because we all need to be needed, approved of, and loved.

So when you are at a low ebb and someone you know says “try this” it’s natural you will be vulnerable. This is the means by which thousands of cults and manipulative corporations get our attention.  You attend a meeting with this friend and the people you meet are incredibly nice. They make it clear they want to be friends with you too. Some even seem to be pillars of the community, so surely things are fine…aren’t they?

Later, going back to your regular life you think, “Why should I put up with my life as it is? The new friends I’ve met are much nicer and care more for me anyway.”

So joining up looks good. Besides what is there to lose?

More meetings and relationships cement friendships. Pretty soon we are either buying the product, joining the group, or both. In the process of getting us used to fitting in we also get taught how to bring in new recruits too. By these means friendship gets hijacked. Our new “friends” will only be so for as long as we keep coming and do what we’re told.

Sounds a little sinister, doesn’t it? It is. Nietzche talked about the slave-hero relationship, saying that controllers can’t control unless others want to be controlled. This seems altogether obvious. Except that in real life the process is ever so subtle and not at all noticeable. If controllers tap into our need for approval and acceptance, this influence has a reflex effect. Not that we are necessarily drawn to domination but by the yearning we feel to be valued. So when someone smooths the way, giving our problems easy answers, it’s likely we’ll feel relieved.

This is the system through which cults recruit. It’s also how companies eager to sell, strategize, and conceal their agenda, place people under their power.

You might be thinking this seems over the top; like some crazy conspiracy theory. But consider what you already know. Have you come across people who have suddenly become bonded to organizations with an unhealthy influence? Are you aware of somebody who has cut themselves off from friends and family as a result? The important thing here is that all people, including good, intelligent folk, are prey to false friendships.

So what can you do? Firstly, recognize that any group or person that denies you the freedom to think and express your opinions is questionable.  Trading our freedom for the enslavement of controllers wanting us to worship their way or buy their products is dangerous. Yet people do this every day. Therefore, question everything with fair mindedness. Continually asking what is reasonable is a good start. Investing in healthy relationships with friends and family helps too.

The truth is that life is incredibly hard at times and many things happen that we feel never should. But they do. Our part is not to add to woes by surrendering our will and thinking to those with magic plans. Our path is to put our best into life as it is. Not by succumbing to false friendships. But with courage, dare to live honestly, and with dignity, choose to be our selves. This is the hardest road to travel. But I believe it is ultimately the most enriching. The greatest dare of all is to live through what you lack in relationships and let your life touch others with the best that you believe.


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