Friendship, by definition of positive interpersonal connection is more vividly felt in moderation. One would have to be exclusively devoted to the experience of friendship to in order to evenly disperse attention/affection wherever one incidentally interacts with people. One will eventually choose certain people from among them, incidentally prefer certain people, or simply decide on casual quantity over intimate quality. The point is that friendship has many possible ways to manage while still being the same practical concept. Forgiveness on the other hand transcends, relationship type. My dictionary application defines forgiveness as ceasing to feel angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Feelings of anger dissipating are a natural occurrence as the insignificance of the action becomes more and more evident.

“Forgiveness” as a natural occurrence is inevitable under circumstances favorable to the “victim.” However, forgiveness as a willing “cancellation of debt,” both monetary and otherwise is NOT as inevitable. It requires a thought and attitude shift in the recipient. These shifts are often resisted because of the high emotional state against the person who deserved it or their “mad at.” I’m under the experiential impression that an over abundance of RAGE distorts decision-making, and even IF what someone is doing or saying is wrong, the response must NOT then be fueled by anger. A shift in attitude must take place if the feelings of anger on an issue are to dissipate.

Although this is to be true across the board, this philosophy is immediately relevant to managing friendships. If Plato’s comment about one should remain friends as long as “the other person doesn’t change” is to be believed (I don’t believe it.), then forgiveness for “being who they are” should be doubly extended. To agree never to it again would be to eliminate a nuance in their personalities. I think friendship should leave room for maturity on the parts of both persons, and static refusal to develop comes across as kind of Randian. (“Randian” is being uses to describe internally inconsistent rigidity.)  Generally speaking friendships are formed in the context of the person’s most redeeming character traits, the negatives may/may not be necessary impurities in whatever good the person is capable of. The capacity to accept that will reduce instances of “throwing the infant out with the dirty bath water.”

Now what of our enemies and people we don’t care about/for? If they don’t deal with us, why should I not provide myself with a healthy, unrelated target for my resentment? If enough people take this approach, then we have cases of mass alienation, mass mutual resentment, self-alienation, or resentment of masses. Many school-based peer mishaps can be attributed to this. Boiling it down, they can be attributed to think this practice is a good idea. See, the only thing I HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION AGAINST EVER FORGIVING: is the continued existence of flawed thinking/ideas. Note: The anger is never directed toward people, but to the ideas. I get major release from beating the tar out of stupid arguments, and making fun of them post-mortem.

To put a condition on the forgiveness of an action not mutually considered a mistake, error, or bad habit, is to threaten your friend with emotional isolation unless your way of thinking/behavior is adopted. (This is not to advocate unconditional alliance with anyone, which would be potentially disastrous.) It is fascistic to make and expect action on that demand SOLEY on the basis of your friendship. Now to order someone to correct something mutually agreed upon to be a mistake, error, bad habit, lapse of judgment is a separate matter.

Anger generally presupposes “I have been wronged.” I’ve learned that most people’s mistakes are not generally made with YOU in mind. The exceptions usually take place when the previous paragraph is in affect, during which the perpetrator usually believes your treatment is entirely appropriate. Most people can find some circumstance where it is appropriate to torture someone in the worst way possible. (Some people’s standards are just “higher” than others…)

When malice is not the issue, the anger is usually misplaced. Other times, the anger is from the friend not constantly being considered. Perceived as a form of neglect, an accusation the accuser is often immediately guilty of. Not being forgiven by a friend is usually painful. This is worse when the accuser knows this to be the case. Intentional hurt for punishment of unintentional hurt. (What a great buddy YOU turned out to be.) I maintain that even IF the person’s feelings are “considered” it’s usually IMPOSSIBLE to know their reaction until they react. Then you’re making a demand that the person intuitively know how you’ll feel before they do anything. This is a feat that takes MANY years of training. It would be unrealistic to assume this to the case. And even WITH the years of training… “Realistic” is by definition, whatever actually happens.

And lastly…what’s with the overexertion of power? Shouldn’t you HELP your friend avoid an action he considers to be heinous? Isn’t that what friends do for each other? …Instead of the angry jumps to untested conclusions?