Why we prefer rotten friends to having none

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REY ELBO

REY ELBO

THAT’s because the old maxim “show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are” is no longer practical and of no use to businessmen who are perpetually seeking favors from the most powerful, even if they appear demonic, literally and figuratively, from all angles. But they’re right.

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Look at how this adage can be illogical at times.

You have about three of your best friends who are drug dependents. Does it follow that you’re also a drug dependent? At times, your detractors would say—it’s difficult to believe that Mighty Mouse, even if he’s hooked ON marijuana, would be stupid enough to snort it in public with people around him, clicking all the way in their attempts to be the first one to post it on Facebook.

Ok, fine. How about if you belong to a business group whose directorships are populated by tax evaders, smugglers, influence peddlers, and to be more precise, promoters of “endo” policies against our poor workers, would that mean that you’re also as corrupt and dirty as these people?

Somehow, “show me…” is contradicted by another equally important principle in our business and work life: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Then, we justify it further by asking an important clincher-question—wasn’t Jesus Christ a friend of sinners?

This is one good explanation as to why many business groups are having difficulty cleansing their ranks of “endo” promoters masquerading as legitimate manpower agencies and organizations that continuously fail to remit social security contributions, among other management ills. Sure, these employers support the labor department’s compliance and inspection system, because they don’t have a choice. After all, how can you argue against the strong arm of a government trying to fulfill an election promise?

At best, these business groups do only a token amount of participation, if not comply with the minimum standard, else they lose the support of their financiers and the general membership alike. Lest you become confused with my anti-employer position, then read again my past articles as I believe that labor groups are similarly situated, which are normal with people and organizations.

In psychology, having bad friends and maintaining them as such can be explained by the term “association bias”. Or, to put it in another maxim lingo, “birds of the same feathers flock together.” That’s how these people explain the poor quality of their decisions, if they care to explain it inside the confines of the mafia’s boardroom.

Sometimes, the bearer of bad news often becomes the hated messenger, no matter how innocent he is. That’s why they shoot messengers with poisonous arrows in the old days, since they’re automatically associated with the content of the bad message.

Now, how do people take advantage of networking with friends to lay the foundations of marketing one’s business interest? Should we be happy and contented with professional groups, including the one being offered by the Rotary? Or should we rely on having thousands, if not millions of online friends from Facebook, LinkedIn, including Donald Trump’s Twitter.

Or, should we do both – having live, real, physical friends that you can shake hands with every now and then and maintain virtual partners, even if they appear like torch bearers of fake news, which you don’t know if they’re really alive and kicking? How does one choose the best option, while maintaining sanity and integrity? Indeed, it’s difficult to define the success principles by limiting your option to the good guys.

You have to welcome the bad guys as well, in the hope that you can be instrumental in converting them to a good cause, so that you can get good money from the bad to help and feed the impoverished under the guise of a sophisticated management program called CSR, or corporate social responsibility.

Anyway, my conclusion for this piece can be summarized by this statement – there are no bad friends, but only good friends you have not yet met.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random management thoughts on Elbonomics.    

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