I was going through some of my old correspondence yesterday, when I stumbled upon this gem:

“Too many people have taken advantage of you and screwed you over that now you look at everyone through that lens. You fail to see the goodness in people and you have no patience for friendships anymore.”

This is what one of my best friends told me (in fact he sent an e-mail) sometime back. I had asked him to get me something which I was not able to procure because of my limited mobility. It didn’t involve a lot of money, but required some effort like collecting and collating material from the library, xeroxing it, and sending it to me.

He didn’t want to do that and started giving excuses and kept on asking clarifications. One day he told me that he had misplaced the information I sent and asked me to send them again. Even after doing so, nothing happened and my requirement for that material was over as the deadline by which I had to submit my work had passed. So I wrote a mail giving him a piece of my mind and this was the response that I received—at least the best part of it.

I was very depressed reading the mail and couldn’t get those remarks off my mind for a couple of weeks. Yes, a few people have taken advantage of me, but that never stopped me from helping others. And I never helped somebody expecting something in return. So, the allegation was untrue and the person who wrote it was one of the few people who really knew that. I still don’t know why he wrote that and how he could write that.

Yamaha PSR-730

About friendships, I only have a few friends. That is mainly because my interaction with people is very less these days and most of the ‘friends’ had walked away from me after the accident. But I have a few nice friends, a few of whom I have not even met. I think in the case of friendships it is quality, not quantity, that matters.

But in the above the case, the reason for the trouble was lack of respect. What my experience had taught me is that for a friendship to flourish, the people involved should respect each other. For example, whenever he asked me for help, I would do the best possible job and always considered his requests as top priority. Naturally, I expected the same from him—respect me like I respected him. The trouble started when the respect was not reciprocated. Saying ‘I forgot to do that’ or ‘I misplaced the details’ shows the importance that is given to the request and to the person who made that request. It is worse than saying ‘I am very busy’ or ‘Sorry, I can’t do it.’

Cicero once told “Remove respect from friendship, and you have taken away the most splendid ornament it possesses.

So one of the main ingredients of a good friendship (in fact in any relationship) is mutual respect. Without that, things won’t work out in the long run.

So, respect your friends, cherish and nurture your friendships.

I wish you all a very happy Valentine’s day!


  1. lalitha said,

    February 14, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Love this post Alexis..How true if mutual respect is lost then all friendship is lost too. Something we all can learn from. Thank you for sharing this with us.It can serve as a reminder.

  2. thanu said,

    February 14, 2007 at 7:35 am

    that is very true.. every relationship needs to have respect. A parent shud respect his/her kid too and that wil make a lot of diff.

    Happy V-day to u too

  3. Jayson said,

    February 14, 2007 at 7:52 am

    It is not in friendship alone that respect is important. Whenever we interact with people, if we give them respect, they will give it back. It is a natural reaction.

    Happy Valentine’s day, alex.

  4. Alexis Leon said,

    February 14, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Lalitha: Thanks Lalitha. What you said is true.

    Thanu: I completely agree with that. When the parents treat the children with respect, give them freedom and allow them to make their own choices (with parental guidance), they grow into responsible, caring, and well mannered young men and women.

    Jayson: Respect is important in all relationships. I agree with you—it is important to give respect and take respect.

  5. flyawaymind said,

    February 14, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    hmmm..sometimes people just take things/ persons for granted.
    they expect us to be there at times of need , but fail to commit to
    the ‘unselfish give & take ‘ aspect of relationship…
    Happy valentines day to you!!!!

  6. Jo said,

    February 14, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    There were times when I got kicked in the butt by some friends whom I trusted and loved a lot, and now it has made me to keep a little distance before being involved in a deep friendship.

  7. mathew said,

    February 15, 2007 at 1:16 am

    sadly many such good friendships wither out as we grow old….like you said respect is very important…i cherish my friendship a lot….it is always a nice feeling that there is someone there for you when you are deep trouble…someone to rely on without asking for help…Hope your friend realises how much you respect him……….

  8. Paresh said,

    February 15, 2007 at 10:10 am

    It is good to keep faith 🙂 Human beings are not bad as such, but sometimes the situations/conditions they face are bad 🙂

  9. sujit said,

    February 15, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    pretty nice post. Never though about the resptect aspect in friendship. I too have few friends, but all join hands for everything.. help eachother without expecting anything in return. Once there was a labmate of mine, who said friendship is like business, i give something in return you need to give something else!.. after hearing that, the words ran me crazy..! After that i did not try to speak to him..!

  10. venus said,

    February 16, 2007 at 12:27 am

    sometimes, people have different priorities, and when our expections do not get fulfilled, we get hurt. But, that is the order of life, nothing to feel bad about it, that is what I have learnt.
    People grow old, and people also grow apart. Some sensitive people will still care. But that is not always expected. Per se, couple of my friends talk to me when they need me to talk to me,and I always become available to them to listen. But, when I need to talk to them, they may not be available. I used to feel bad in past, but, now I have learnt that whatever I have is this, and by feeling bad, I will spoil whatever we already have. So, with bigger heart, I forgive them for their incapability, their insensitivity 🙂

  11. venus said,

    February 16, 2007 at 12:28 am

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!!

  12. Alexis Leon said,

    February 16, 2007 at 11:28 am

    flyawaymind: Very true. It is fine most of the times. But even in case of an emergency, in a situation where a particular person is only one who can help, it becomes difficult to sustain the relationship. After all, a friend in need…

    Jo: That is very good policy Jo.

    Mathew: When you are in deep trouble, the only true friend who helps you with even asking is God!

    Paresh: Paresh, I have faith in the goodness of humanity. But what I cannot understand is plain laziness.

    sujit: Thanks sujith. Respect in friendship is not the same as the respect between a parent and child, at least that is my opinion. It is respect for the individual and the decency for not taking someone for granted. Yes, nowadays, most friendship is like business.

    venus: Agreed that is part of life. But imagine a situation when a person is drowning and his friend who can swim is standing on the shore doing nothing, how you will feel? I was in such a position and the person could have helped me—he needed to invest a few hours of his time.

    But now I have stopped depending on others (with the exception of my family) and asking for help (even from close friends). I will do what I can and expect nothing in return, so even when people departs without saying a thank you or goodbye, I don’t feel bad. If somebody does that, then I consider as a bonus. But I am not as magnanimous as your are. I don’t forget or forgive the insensitivity 🙂

  13. Sreejith Kumar said,

    February 17, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Thumbs up for the last thought…. “So, respect your friends, cherish and nurture your friendships.”

    Belated Valentine’s Day wishes to you….. Have a great weekend…

  14. Suji said,

    February 18, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Respect is the foundation of any relationship.

  15. Anju said,

    February 19, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Without respect nothing, not even marriage, professional relationships and any other kind of human interaction will succeed. Belated V Day to you too 🙂

  16. Kusum Rohra said,

    February 19, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    When I went and told my dad that I loved a certain guy and would like to marry him, the first thing (after of course the whole you-can’t-be-in-love-mumbo jumbo) he asked me was “Does he respect you?”


    Belated Valentines day to you too.

  17. Alexis Leon said,

    February 19, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Sreejith: Thanks buddy…

    Suji: Very true…

    Anju: I can’t agree more…

    Kusum: Good question 🙂

  18. Quills said,

    February 19, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    What a great post and I truly agree with what you say. Without mutual respect, no relationship ( like Anju pointed out) works.

  19. Abhishek said,

    February 19, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    It all boils down to people… and what their value systems are… people who behave such, never had any… to put it a bit strongly… it was more of a relationship of convenience.
    Social configurations…what are they worth…?

  20. Ramesh said,

    February 20, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Please check this site

    They have a beautiful course which teaches Sudarshan Kriya.It helped millions of people worldwide !

    Best wishes
    You are very inspiring to lot of youngsters to make the best of everything !

  21. James Bright said,

    February 22, 2007 at 2:49 am

    Dear Alexis,
    Friends can be very different at times!
    Think about the good ones always.
    I am very happy to see that you have plenty of them around!
    God bless you always!

  22. Chackochan said,

    February 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm


    its an amazing word… but rarely we find the true examples of a friendship…am i right.

    is that because we are in the 20th century ? or is that because everyone is busy ? or is that something else ?


  23. Alexis Leon said,

    March 1, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Quills: True.

    Abhishek: “it is more of a relationship of convenience.” Yes, for some people.

    James: Thanks James.

    Chackochan: I really don’t know. May be all those reasons and some more…