Today’s Daily Stoic journaling prompt: Am I avoiding false friendships and bad influences?
The associated Daily Stoic meditation for this one poses what I think is a better question, at least for me, who has always been hugely cautious about who I let close to me as a good friend: “what if, instead, we ask about the times that we have been false to our friends? Ultimately, that’s what Stoicism is about–not judging other people’s behaviour, but judging our own.” It goes on to cite the case of befriending people to their face when there is something in it for us, and backstabbing them later privately. Or being a fair-weather friend. I think I personally worry about the second of those more frequently. I tend to be kind to everyone to their face, and have a large circle of acquaintances–I see this as part of living in a civil society. If someone in that wide circle of friends does something unethical, my sense is primarily to disengage, and to try to avoid behind-the-back gossip or moralizing, although I’m not perfect….
Evening: But the idea of fair-weather friendship–that one bothers me a bit right now. I’m not a big “check in to see how you’re doing” kind of person, although I’ve been trying to improve. This is a big part of my nature–I’m an observer and a listener, and very much the kind of person who does not want to impose “solutions” on friends. That makes it sound quite positive–which I tend to think it is–but it has its negative side, in that I often wait to be asked to help–again, not wishing to intrude. But if I can, and if I told specifically what is needed, I will help. So, coming back to the original question: Am I actually false to friends? That is, do I represent myself as being something that I am not? I don’t think so.
Today I got to experience the lovely roar of four Merlin engines up close, likely for the last time this season. And then I was specifically asked today whether I could answer a question on the AskHistorians subreddit, and I could and did.
Finally, I found on YouTube the movie version of Shostakovich’s operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki, a lovely little piece of early 60s Soviet kitsch. It’s fun to follow along with even if you know no Russian, so long as you know the basic outline of the plot, which is all about people getting new apartments in one of those stereotypical brutalist Soviet apartment blocks and assorted hijinks thereto appertaining. Shostakovich originally didn’t much think too highly of the operetta, but apparently he quite liked the movie.
And then, finally, a few hours of Pathfinder roleplaying, which I’m coming to look forward to as a highlight of my week in this not-so-new normal now. It’s pure escapism, and indulges my love of storytelling.