So far, I have collected many BEAUTIFUL STORIES about FRIENDSHIP AND FRIENDSHIPOLOGY for my websites, but very few SAD or VERY UNFORTUNATE ones. I decided today to write about a true story belonging to the latter category.

This story is about two old friends ( both deceased now ) who came to America from Shanghai, China, to pursue their Western Education. They were about the same age, rich, handsome, and suave. They joined an elitist Chinese Fraternity and were very popular with their women friends. So many wonderful times they had together, double-dating as well as leading various faternity’s social and philantropical activities together. They considered each other Best Friends.

After graduate schools, the one from Wharton, stayed on in New York City and did well in Finance. The other became an eminent professor in the Mid West. Both got married and had happy families and professional careers. They kept in touch and met fairly regularly at their fraternity reunions etc..

Much later, both in their late seventies, they migrated to the S.F. South Bay. Single now, the finance fellow had an apartment near San Jose. The professor and his wife had a nice house near Stanford University. They were delighted to live not huge distance from each other any more, but the half hour drive between them still made it difficult for them to see each other often – especially since the finance fellow no longer drived.

So here is the story. The Finance Fellow was flying back from a long trip from Hong Kong. The professor went to pick up his friend from S.F. Airport then delivered him back to the San Jose apartment . After entering the apartment, the Finance fellow immediately went up to his second floor bedroom. He said he was exhausted. The professor was also exhausted from driving, so he plopped down in the living room sofa and turned on the TV to relax a bit. His hearing was not good so he turned the volume on really high.

The old friend from the second floor was furious because the loud TV was disturbing. He bluntly reprimanded the professor, ” How can you be so inconsiderate ? “. The professor was not at all happy about that. He instantly got up to leave, complaining “How can you be so ungrateful for all I have just done for you ? They parted angry at each other. Due to various reasons they never apologized to each other. That was the end of their Old Friendship. It’s so sad and truly unfortunate.

The lesson I learned is that when people are tired they are often not at their best. We need to be more forgiving. Also, I really feel guilty myself for not having tried harder to help them regain their good feelings for one another. In such cases the third mutual friend should really do more to help out.