Are those real?

No, I’m not talking about implants, augmentation and modifications to certain body parts nor am I making any vague or veiled reference to Rep. Anthony Weiner – that guy has enough problems right now without me weighing in.

I’m actually referring to fake people. You know who I’m referring to, right? The kind who toss you a smile to give you the sense that they actually care about you when they really don’t. The kind of people who give you insincere compliments or ask your opinion about something but there’s really no effort to hide the fact that they really aren’t concerned about you as a person nor does it matter to them what you think. They are the kind of people who may be too smart for you, too pretty, too rich or all of the above. I know, I’m sounding a bit shallow right now but bare with me for a moment.

I have a hard time with these types because you can never really be sure what they are thinking or why they continue to include you in their circle of “friends” when there is really no rhyme or reason as to why you’re around them in the first place. I have friends whom I really shouldn’t consider friends because seriously, we do not belong in the same social circles.

For example, the other day I was sitting with some “friends” talking about a current event. The guy who had initiated the conversation is a person of high intellect, well known in Polynesian and Pacific Islander educational groups. There were other scholars and educators sitting at our table. I was the odd man out. I’ve never published scholarly papers or given lectures at colleges or universities. The only people who regularly listen to my lectures are my sons.

As they discussed the subject it quickly became evident that my opinion was neither merited nor required. I simply sat by and listened as they discussed something that they felt was clearly out of my league. I felt pretty stupid to say the least. Even humiliated.

Though my sons are much smarter and more popular in the eyes of their peers we have had several conversations about how we should all treat people regardless of race, social status, appearance or economic situation. Everyone deserves to be heard and everyone has the right to be treated with respect. We may not agree with another persons opinion but it doesn’t mean that their point of view should be ignored or invalidated.

I’ve often share with my sons my philosophy on friends while growing up as a teenager in Samoa. I had lots of friends; but the ones whom I still hold dear to my heart and consider my brothers and sisters are the ones who were always honest in our relationship. They were the genuine article; the real deal. I think it’s a waste of time to be around people whom you can’t decide from one moment to the next whether they are really a friend or if they are keeping you around for comic relief, a stepping stool or an easy target. I don’t necessarily need them to be a friend, I just want people to be real. Is it too much to ask?

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