When I look at my friends and acquaintances, I see people. People I met in school, previous employment, friends of family, friends of friends, parents of other special needs kids I’ve met in waiting rooms, parents of Wendell’s classmates, therapists and aids who have worked with Wendell, friends of DJ, hairstylists, doctors, nurses, office workers, grocery clerks. Just people.
I don’t care if my friends are tall or short; white, black, yellow or green; lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; conservative, liberal, communist, green or socialist; healthy, wealthy, ill or poor; loud and obnoxious or quiet and shy; tattooed, pierced or not; Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, religious or not; famous or infamous; have intellectual or developmental delays, or physical disabilities; overweight, underweight, or anywhere in between; blemished or clear skin, freckled, pale, or deeply tanned; neatly coiffed hair, colored, straight or curly. I don’t care what you drive, where you live, how you make your living, how many children you have or don’t have, nor do I care how much money you make or save or have stashed in the mattress. While these things may matter to some people, they aren’t important to me or why I chose to call someone a friend.
I also don’t care if our opinions are different, just that you respect the fact that it is our right to have differing opinions. I don’t appreciate it if you call me names because my opinions don’t fall in line with yours. I am not stupid, I am not a racist, I am not a hater. If you think I am these things because of my opinions, then you truly do not know me. I don’t ask anything of my friends that I am not willing to give to them…I ask for the same courtesy and respect from you, that you would expect from me.
If you say something that offends me, I will not blast you publicly, but I will send you a private message. I won’t expect an apology, or for you to change your ways, those are just bonus outcomes. If this is too much to ask, then I suggest we part ways amicably. If a peaceful, quiet separation is too much to expect, then go on your way as you see fit, know I will not publicly berate you for being an a$$hole, I just don’t care. I’ve got greater things in my life to worry over than whether or not I have offended you or if you like me. I’m not going to lose any more sleep wondering if my words are misinterpreted, misrepresented, misread, misunderstood, misused, or just missed.