My dear nephew-in-law, Michael Sterling , surprised me with a gift last week . He had a shirt made at BONFIRE after he read my article about BE NICE ME posted on https://friendshipology.net . I proudly wore it and shared a photo of myself in that shirt with many friends – especially my Andover prep school classmates since Norman Allenby ( PA ’51 ) was the one who told me that years ago a five year old friend of his son, uttered these three words upon arrival for a play-date.
Mike came for dinner yesterday, and we continued our conversation about FRIENDSHIPOLOGY. He emphasized that Friendship can not exist without Trust 信. I agree with him heartily, since my parents named me 李名信 Lee Ming Sing (Lee is our Family name; middle name Ming means To Remember; third word Sing or Xing means Trust.) It has been etched in my mind that I must always be trustworthy.
Indeed, I have constantly been reminded that my Great-Great Grandfather李也亭 Li Ye Ting is considered a historical figure in Shanghai and XiaoGang, Ningbo, my ancestral home. He was known for his business acumen but most importantly for his Accountability, Reliability, Good Intentions, and Total Trustworthiness.
However, Be Nice and Be Trustworthy are reasonably straight forward. To Induce Deep Friendship sometimes requires Empathy and Forgiveness.
I remember a situation a few years ago. A few friends and I made an agreement with another acquaintance to promote a Good Cause. There were mutual financial commitments. Abruptly, this acquaintance could not and did not deliver as he promised. My friends mostly thought that we were cheated. Legal actions were suggested. I was torn and upset, but fortunately decided to give the acquaintance a pass. I did not think that he intentionally deceived us and the Good Cause Project he led must be appreciated and not be smeared. I had lost a bit financially, but gained a good friend who has recovered and is still promoting his Good Cause Project.