One evening, my roomie asked me a very thought-provoking question. “What right do I have on my Best Friend?” I sank into thought for a while but after much consideration and reflecting on past experiences, I had to say “NONE”.
You may argue why NONE? After all, we do experience guilt watching our friend hurting himself. We do feel guilt (sometimes anger) to watch our friend drown in the whirlpool of Life. We feel, We know he can make it large but damn it… Can’t I just kick him and get him to live up to his potential? NO
Sadly, it’s the truth. Because:
Right to mistake: Yes, it’s one of the fundamental rights which we don’t realize everyone has. Mistakes… Interestingly, we hate them, we don’t desire committing them but they teach us a lot. If we realize, most of our major lessons are in fact learnt from mistakes. Just wondering, if I would have been able to learn cycle if my parents didn’t remove the side-wheels. Try imagining your Life as if you have never committed a single mistake. You can’t even imagine. Even if you could, are you the same person you imagined and more importantly, Do you really want to be that person? Our Life is a summation of good and bad experiences. Admit it, we are what we are because of our mistakes. We certainly cannot and should not snatch this right from our friends.
The proper teacher: There are some lessons which we cannot teach. Some lessons are learnt either from parents, other friends, strangers, but not us. However hard we may try protecting them, however hard its gonna hit him, there are some lessons which Life reserves for itself.
Your continued attempt to rectify him will only be viewed as intrusion and unless you are lucky, it will create hostility.
Is it a mistake?: It happens that what we are presuming as a mistake is actually not a mistake. Its rather a bold move or “just following the heart”. Steve Jobs left his college (which he considers as one of his best decisions. Imagine what would your response if your friend says the same to you). A personal experience: We were a trio. After a time, we started drifting (2 of us and 1 other). I accepted this as “Life’s Reality” but my friend refused and proposed that he would talk. I was worried it would start the blame game and damage the remnants of trio beyond repair. Anyway, he went ahead, talked and successfully sorted out the issues.
So, what should I do? Let him destroy his Life or harm himself. Then, am I a real Friend?
However, we do have one right over them.
Right to Guide: We can guide our Friend. Talk to him. Let him know why we are so against his viewpoint. Persuade him to consider our views also. In that way, it always will be his decision. Even if it’s a wrong decision, it’s one of his own making and he will not regret it in the future OR if its right, you won’t.
Should we not intervene at all? We can intervene, if his decision is going to harm others but again, that will be viewed as intrusion (till he has a better insight of things). Sometimes, “its friendship or a lesson”.
It’s a bit tricky. One last word, “Always have his back. That will matter to him more than anything else.”