Good Intensions and the Road to Hell

Today I gave a friend of mine a hard time. He’s another old guy and he has been struggling with serious medical issues for several years. He also suffers from clinical depression. On numerous occasions over the last ten years I have tried to help him with his work when he gets seriously behind. almost every time he wants to spend the time talking or eating two hour lunches.

I think that friends help friends so I’m trying to be sure we got things done and make some headway against the mounting workload and deadlines. He says he can do things faster without help. In frustration today, I lectured him on the virtues of good planning and time management. He suggested that I thought he was stupid and insisted that he planned well.

I hammered away on the lack of results and the fact that neither one of us would have unlimited time to complete elaborate plans. “We need to focus on what is most important to us and do those things and give up the grandiose expansive plans that we could not actually execute”, I said.

I very much regret that conversation now that I understand that my friend needed me to be a friend, not a planning consultant or the voice of reality or a critic. Just be a friend. Sometimes we all need to listen more and talk less.