Sometimes you find yourself in a friendship that involves mutual recognition that each of you has distinct gifts, calling, and abilities the other lacks. You hope your friend will assist you in the arenas where you need help. Likewise, you are glad help your pal when he/she needs it.
Recently “Bob” (not his real name) and I had breakfast. Bob knows that I admire, like and respect him. Despite my imperfections, we eat together. We’re getting to know each other better.
Our friendship differs from guys who merely went to school together or who just work together or who only share a hobby. We serve a common cause.
We’re part of band of brothers who read, answer questions about the reading alone, then meet to discuss our answers. Our goal is for all of us to become better men and help others become better. We aspire to improve life for those we encounter and especially those we each care about, regardless of the views or opinions they hold.
If we succeed, each guy will become a better man. The fathers will become better fathers. The husbands will become more loving and considerate husbands.
I came wearing a mask, even though I was vaccinated last year. California says that since I’ve been vaccinated and tested negative, I don’t need to quarantine. Bob and I sat a safe distance apart and we talked a bit about COVID and vaccination.
Bob is also social security age. Before breakfast he gave himself an insulin shot at the table, as is his custom. Bob said his doctor told him if he got COVID he would probably die. His doctor thinks Bob should be vaccinated. Despite that, Bob has not been vaccinated and doesn’t plan to be.
As an adult, he is responsible for his own choices. And his decision about the vaccine is different from mine. This post is not about differing opinions about vaccination. It’s about something I struggle with: communicating with a friend when we differ on an issue.
Bob is in his legacy years. He has the ability and desire to beneficially impact the people that he loves.
Suppose Bob gets COVID, his doctor is correct, and Bob passes. Suppose I meet his wife at his memorial and give her a consoling hug. She and I have never had a substantial conversation, but she would know I tried to help Bob become the best possible version of him. I would be uncomfortable if I had thought Bob was taking unnecessary risk and I never talked with him about it.
I am conflicted about respecting his adult choice and feeling an obligation to at least ask about his risk assumptions. He trusts his doctor enough to inject insulin before meals but not enough to accept the vaccine. The news sources that I trust report that vaccinated people have a dramatically lower risk of infection, hospitalization, or death than unvaccinated people.
Suppose you were committed to Bob’s best interest, and you had been vaccinated. What would you do?
Would you be silent and respect his choice, even if you think it is dangerous for him and his bride? Some friends don’t confront friends, even when they perceive their buddy is engaging in foolishness.
Would you tactfully inquire about why his doctor’s counsel is valid about insulin, which might prevent coma, but wrong about reducing COVID risk which might prevent death?
Or would do something wiser than either option?
As always, I welcome your feedback.
So, what would you do if Bob were your friend?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”