Maybe there will come a day when I am not surprised to hear someone say they pictured me to be a person with a lot of friends. The truth is, I don’t have a lot of friends. I love a lot of humans and they love me. But, friends? No. I only have a handful. I would increase that number, if it were that easy, but, it’s an organic thing. It can’t be forced. The relationship can be nurtured and efforts made, as any friendship, new or otherwise, requires. But, a real friend, the ones who know you, often, better that YOU do…those are your gems. And, they are just as rare as a precious stone in a sea of imposters. These are the friends who, when you are clearly on the wrong path, are willing to question your reasoning. We don’t like explaining our reasoning. It’s justifying our thinking, and I’m thinking just fine, thank you very much. Except, when I’m not. Then, what? If you’re like me, and I don’t know you well enough to “get in your face” verbally, I’ll remain silent or agreeable, maybe smile or nod and say something like, “Well, I hope it all works out…sounds like you got your work cut out for you!” And, I’ll think to myself, “THAT’S a train wreck waiting to happen.” Now. I’m not insinuating I have either the right or the responsibility to tell an individual, “This is a disaster. Go back to the drawing board.” But, I certainly hope SOMEone will tell them. Someone they trust with their life. Because, that’s the only kind of trust there is…if I trust you, it isn’t with “certain things.” That’s just appreciating your insight on selective issues. If I TRUST you, you have the unequivocal power to elicit feelings of anger or elation. If I don’t really care what you think about my choices, and I’m not vested in yours, we will only ever have mediocre exchanges. I sometimes need my ass kicked. I sometimes need to be loved through times that appear I would need my ass kicked. I need someone who knows the difference. Because, I can beat myself up worse than you EVER can. I promise. But, a true friend kicks your ass to shake you back to reality. To make you rethink what you’re doing. To guide you to a better outcome than the one that is obvious to you. They are also the friends who, if you DON’T take their advice, will stay close and true, and still disagree with you. They aren’t eager to rub it in your face when you fall and they saw it coming. No. These friends see that you are determined to go off the cliff…in a relationship, a financial decision, a geographical move for all the wrong reasons, a haircut that you will cry over…and, while you are setting your life on fire, they are gathering the tissues, the hot tea, the warm blankets, your favorite movies, and possibly clearing some time on their calendar, because you’re gonna boomerang right back to their couch when you crash and burn. And, they know it. They told you, up front. And, it pissed you off. Words were exchanged. Silence followed. Time passed. Hearts softened. They were right. And, you need that friend. Now, more than ever. You don’t believe in yourself. Your ego is bruised. Your heart is broken. Your bank account is, too. You hate your new location. Your dreamy new significant other was Satan’s 3rd cousin. They knew ALL of this, because, they know YOU. It wasn’t comfortable for them, either when they had “the talk” with you about your choices turned lessons. But, now that it’s over, you trust them even more. With your life. How many times have you discovered you had a piece of spinach in your teeth or a booger in your nose, because YOU found it, while looking in the mirror, after being in public ALL day? WHY TF didn’t somebody tell you? Because it might make you uncomfortable? NO! Because it made THEM uncomfortable. Ps…I will be that stranger that will gesture to you that you have the spinach or the booger, because, karma…and, are they embarrassed? Usually. Am I? Usually. Are they grateful? Always. Not once has a person said, “Gee, thanks. Now that you’ve pointed it out I guess I have no excuse to walk around with this hanging out of my nose all day. I was digging the attention, jerk.” No, they thank me. And, the embarrassment is from thinking about how many people already saw the neon spinach or eternally distracting booger. (Also, I’ve never written the word booger so many times that it no longer looks like a word. I thought you’d want to know.) If we can’t tell someone that something fixable is wrong with their FACE, who the hell are we supposed to trust? The people who will hurt your feelings over your most personal life choices. Trust these people, but only if they are out with that shopping list I mentioned, should you carry through with your very bad, very wrong, very awful decision. If you are a trusting soul, you will likely get stabbed in the back more than your more suspicious counterparts. This is most unfortunate, but all those who challenge the choice you express may not have your best interest at heart. These are the information brokers. They spill your story like a can of paint, smear your name, add their own embellishments and feel just fine about themselves when they go to bed at night. And, when you fall? Many of these same people will come around and offer a hand up, because how ELSE are they going to get the rest of the story? When they have sufficient details to entertain the ones awaiting the anticipated question to, “What HAPPENED?” They have the scoop. And, they’ll relay your demise with a smile. It’s a disgusting trait of the human condition. So, seeing the similarities between the gems and the imposters may take being burned a few times. But, the gems will never fail to shine. The imposters tarnish will eventually surface. Both of these statements are facts you can take to the bank. Your gem friends will still be kind, not demeaning, even though your heart is hurting at their words. That’s another huge clue about the person engaged in your life’s details. Your demoralization is not the aim of any gem. Your safety…physical, mental and emotional…those are all concerns your gem has, regarding you. Remember that. Remember that the next time you are approached by someone questioning your path. They may not always be right, and they’ll likely step back and doubt themselves, initially. After all, they are essentially taking the liberty of saying, “I think I know more about this thing in your life than you.” But, really, they are saying, “I. Know. You.” And, that they will tremble when they speak their truth about you, directly TO you, well…that screams, “I. Love. You.” Is that ass kicking feeling a bit more like a hug, now? Choosing the hard thing by caring more about the long term outcome than short term discomfort by attempting to flick on the lightbulb in that dimly lit part of your brain is LOVE. It is the purest form of trustworthiness to know you can come back to these same gems in tears, over the very thing about which they tried to warn you. They will even be angry at the person who hurt you. While they make your tea, and warm your blanket, and make you laugh, and plot hypothetical revenge. But, chances are, by the time allll of this has taken place, you won’t feel the need for revenge, because you have a few precious gems. And, the imposters create their own revenge. Peace, and be a gem, Warriors.