Friday, November 26, 2010

When a friendship is destroyed by just a few words.

I have a friend who takes good care of his friends. This is understandable because my friends runs an auto accessories business and his many friends keep his business going. He used to sought for my advice when  sending messages to his friends through his mobile phone. If, for example a friend's daughter fell sick and was hospitalised he would ask me for the actual words to be used in consoling his friend.

So I had to compose the words and send them using my mobile phone. My friend only needed to forward the messages to his friends. The messages could be either in English or Malay depending on the situation. It also could be long or short according to the needs. I never asked for royalties from him for my compositions. What I want in return is his friendship. Sometimes this friendship is extended in the form of rides in his car which I refer as a limousine and ending with a meals in restaurants.

Just as words can strengthen or prolong friendships they can also end a few. I have a friend who was a colleague of mine in the same department. We are now both retired. This friend also used to have many friends, some close and some not. He was once very close to a man who inherited his father's transportation business. From the way his friend spoke I knew he was not well educated although he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.. He talked using profanities just like eating peanuts or smoking cigarettes. Sometimes I wondered whether he understood the profane words that he uttered.

Suddenly after years of friendship I realised that my friend was not that friendly with this profanity speaking heir. They still talked to each other, but I saw something was missing between them. This heir used to come to our department and mixed with us. Since we were workers of a local authority our friendships were much sought after for obvious reasons.

So one day I asked my friend why was he sort of cool to this heir. Then he told me that this heir had hurt him. I asked him how. He answered that one day this heir was talking and boasting about his experiences. Being an heir to a good business he used to spend his time in good restaurants, good clubs and good hotels. One day, one of his ventures was spoiled by a bad host. He mentioned this host to my friend as "a stupid chap like you." Had he ended his words with just "a stupid chap" he and my friends would still be friends. But my friend was really hurt when the words "like you" were added.

My friend, just like me did not go to any university. But he definitely is not stupid. His standard of English can beat most of the our heads of departments who have university degrees. Maybe his friend uttered the words as a joke just like he used to do to real stupid people. But my friend is a man of honour.

So a friendship was ended by just two unnecessary words.

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