4. Friends always agree – that’s why they’re friends

Shortly after I had posted my first two blogs earlier this week I received two calls of support from long-time, close and deeply loved friends. Both had called to voice their approval of the blogs (friends do that) and to offer constructive advice (friends do that too).

The first piece of advice was to remind me that I have been blessed with an exquisite capacity for dry humour and that very few people actually appreciate that type of humour. (How is that possible?).

With only my well-being in mind that friend cautioned me that my feeble attempts at sarcasm may be perceived as being mean spirited, and consequently cause people to abandon my blog. (How is that possible?).

The friend who called immediately afterwards, told me how much she enjoyed the two blogs and then added “I really enjoy your humour. I think that is what will keep people coming back for more.”

Both friends were, I’m sure, convinced of the “correctness” of their opinions, that their views were representative of the views of the majority and that their advice would prove to be significant in the development of my blog.

I’m certainly not being critical of my friends. Their motivation to share their thoughts with ne came from their sincere desire to help a friend and I’m extremely grateful they cared enough to call.

Isn’t it fascinating though? In the previous blogs we talked about beliefs and opinions being nothing more than the meaning we attach to events in our lives or to information that is presented to us.

If we presume beliefs and opinions to be synonymous then look what happened here. Each of my friends, equally well intentioned, both wanting to see me succeed, was presented with identical information – my blog.

Each of my friends read the same article, processed the same information through their internal filtration systems, reached a conclusion they believed to be true, made a decision to share their conclusion with and  called and offered advice that they sincerely believed would be essential to my success.

So one of two things happened here. Either my two dear friends got together and conspired to mess with my head (easily done) or an article about how our beliefs and opinions are formed not by events in our lives or by information we receive but rather by the meaning we place on those events or that information, caused two people to place two completely opposing meanings on information made available to them.

What do you think?

Till we read again.

1 thought on “4. Friends always agree – that’s why they’re friends

  1. John Reynolds Reply

    This is the thinking behind a lesson that I teach my literature students: that each reader suffuses a text with his or her own meaning.

    One student — perhaps one who has had credit or debt problems and whose phone is peppered with collection calls — reads Shakespeare and sees Shylock as a cruel creditor.

    Another student — one whose good will has been taken advantage of in the past — sees Shylock as someone with a legitimate debt to collect, and resents anyone who would make Shylock stoop to the ungracious level of collecting a debt.

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