We went out to dinner the other evening in celebration/anticipation of the impending arrival of Baby Ren. We sat around the table, talking and eating and having a great time. By the end of the evening, we all parted ways and my wife and I went to a nearby hotel. It was the same hotel where we spent our wedding night.
The next day, we had a conversation while driving home. “I really like your friends,” she said. “You have a good bunch of people all around you.” I thought a lot about it, and she’s right. “They’re good people.” I wouldn’t have it any other way… And why would I?
It seems strange to me that people would be friends with jerks and a**holes. Yeah, jerks and a**holes need friends, but who would friend them? Then again, people I see as being good people might be viewed as jerks by others. Certainly, the antivax crowd thinks that I’m a big jerk for pointing out evidence and science to them. So it is very possible that I have one or two jerks in my group of friends.
But I doubt it.
I’ve never been a fan of people being jerks to each other, and I am especially not a fan of people being jerks to others all the time. Sure, it’s okay to lose your cool and be a jerk once in a while, unintentionally, out of frustration or because you didn’t get enough sleep. What’s not okay is to be a jerk just because it makes you feel better in some way.
Of course, some people don’t realize that they’re being jerks. They get a pass if they are told that they are jerks and stop acting that way. If they continue to be jerks, well… Then there’s no excuse and I have no time for them.
This is all applicable to my adult years, by the way. When I was younger, I didn’t really have much of an ability to tell who were the jerks and who weren’t. At times, some of the so-called friends were being jerks to me and I stuck it out in the friendship because of some inexplicable reason. (Inexplicable now, but probably reasonable from the point of view of a kid trying to fit in among his peers.)
In my adult years, I’ve cut off several people from my everyday life. They were outright jerks to me or people I care about, or they pretended to be my friend right up until it wasn’t necessary to be a friend. The latter were the worst, by the way. People who feign friendship but don’t mean it are very close to psychopaths in my book.
So if the pictures of me and friends are not chock-full of people it’s because I’ve been very diligent about which friends to keep, which to let go, and which to forget. Because, in the end, I need good people around me to keep me good.
No jerks allowed.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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