Make Friends With iPeople Who Want The Best For You.
I am so lucky in this regard! I am surrounded by people who want the best for me, as I want the best for them.
This chapter in Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life is partly autobiographical. Under headings such as The Old Hometown, My Friend Chris and His Cousin and Teenage Wasteland he lists the many heartbreaking reasons why some people become hopeless, helpless delinquent or even suicidal. He also lists - and this is as hard to hear - the reasons why we can't neccesarily help them until or unless they truly want help (which can be hard to judge). Under Rescuing The Damned he suggests our reasons for wanting to help may not always be virtuous.
How dare I cast aspertions on the motives of those who are trying to help?' he says. But he does dare, and I am glad he does. It's what makes him interesting to read. He challenges a lot of our assumptions!
If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn't recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friendship for yourself?
Friendship is a reciprocal arrangement. You are not morally obliged to help someone who is making the world a worse place.
I wonder if you have enough friends who support you, if maybe you can 'carry' one or two who take a lot more than they can give, but not, if as sometimes happens, they want to pull you down with them. Of course I am considering people who are not at the extremes of hopelessness and despair. As a clinical psychologist Peterson has long experience with those who are.
Have some humility. Use your judgement, and protect yourself from too-uncritical compassion and pity.
If you want food for thought this book will certainly provide it, and with references from Dostoevsky to The Bible to The Simpsons it can be entertaining too.
What do you think of rule three?