They were strangers when they met at work. Peter was working in the field of finance. Some colleagues became good friends with Peter.
Peter started working in late 2005 and around fall 2006, Dan joined the company. At first, both were not talking much to each other. Out of respect, they did greet each other if they crossed paths in the office. Both were introverted and on the reserved side. That did not help the cause to get acquainted.
When Peter started working and became close friends within a few months with Hanz. There was this chemistry right of the bat. In life, sometimes, you click right away with someone, and other times, no matter what you do, it does not work out.
Peter was the type of person that hated to owe favors, or money to people. Even small sums. During breaks, he would go out the office, cross the street and get coffee for a few of his colleagues. All this, on his own break time. His hands were full. Literally. And, at times, he would buy coffee from his own pocket. He did not mind making people happy, time to time, especially when those colleagues were helpful to him at work. Peter always did more for others. More of a giving person than someone expecting to receive.
One day, when Peter was sitting at his desk, working on a case, Hanz came over, and he puts a coffee of his desk. Peter looks up to Hanz. All surprised.
‘’What is this?’’ Asks Peter.
‘’Your coffee from Dunkin’s. Two milk and two sugars, right?’’ Questions Hanz.
‘’Oh yeah! You got that right. You remembered?’’
‘’That is the least I can do. How many times have you gotten me coffee during your breaks? Sometimes, you would not even take my money, I forget to pay you, or you forget to ask me to get paid.’’
‘’Ah Hanz, it is all good. You are a good colleague and you help me a lot when I need you. ‘’
‘’Well, I am glad if I can be of any assistance to you. But…today, my turn to offer you this coffee. It is on me.’’
Peter was extremely perplexed. Why? Because since he had started working, any job he had held, during his school years, and after, no one ever had bought a coffee for him. This was the first time someone had offered him a drink and did not expect him to pay. Peter felt special that day when Hanz offered him that coffee.
As months, and years had gone by, Hanz was having emotional issues. We are not sure what was the exact reasons. He would not talk about it. Not even to Peter who became close to him at work and even outside of the office. Hanz felt that he needed time alone and be with a new group of people.
One day Hanz had decided that it was over and he was ready to move on to another place. He had found another job in the same field. The pay and the location were two major factors beside the fact that he was fed up with his current workplace.
Even if Hanz was gone, he did remain friends with Peter. During this transition, Peter gradually started talking more and more to Dan. Before Hanz leaving the company, the trio would go out eat together during lunch time. That helped Peter and Dan to become closer.
Peter felt a big void with Hanz gone. On the bright side, he found a peer to talk to everyday at work and to go have lunch with. They started to get acquainted and become friends. Friends outside of work too.
Dan had a second job. He was a kung fu teacher. He would teach on weekends and on Thursdays after work. He was passionate about it. He would talk about it to Peter for hours and how it has helped him in life. How it makes him happy.
Another couple of years went by and where Dan and Peter were working, management had decided to go through a restructure. Well, the main reason, the shareholders decided to outsource to Costa Rica. A matter of reducing cost. Dan was part of that group of people to be laid off, so was Peter. Peter took it hard but for Dan, it felt like it was a calling. A sign that he should maybe put all his energy into his kung fu teaching.
After a few months, Dan was teaching full time. He was self employed. Working his own hours. Peter had found a job in another company. Similar role, pay, benefits and work load. He was content. It was a way to live for now. Pay the bills and the rent.
After work, and on weekends, Peter would go see Dan. Dan had more free time now. He was teaching martial arts but not forty hours a week. He was teaching in groups. He would work maybe not more than fifteen hours a week.
Now that Peter was comfortable with his new job and Dan getting used to the new life of being his own boss, our friends would meet up often on weekends for coffee, going to the movies, long walks, watching tv together…
In this new formed bond between them, at first, everything seemed like a relationship that was based on mutual respect and trust, where both would chip in their share when it came time for an outing or an activity. Example, sometimes Dan would pay for the movie ticket for Peter, and vice versa. Same for when they went for a coffee or supper.
Time went by, and Dan was not having the success with his kung fu school and Peter was still at the same job, gaining his paycheck every two weeks. A steady income compared to Dan. Even that, Peter was very giving. At one point, he was paying Dan’s movie ticket and would even come to his place, which was a fifteen-minute drive and another ten minutes to the theater. He did not mind. At times, he would even offer a Coke and popcorn to Dan. At first Dan was timid. Shy. He would say that he did not have much money this week for any outings but Peter would reassure him that it is on him.
‘’Dan, just don’t forget me one day. That is the only thing I ask for. I know you are a good person and you are kind to me,’’ says Peter.
‘’Ah no worries Peter. I am grateful. I thank you for driving to my neighborhood, giving me lifts, and paying for my movies lately,’’ says Dan.
But…as time went by, Dan would gradually not seem to appreciate the kind gestures from Peter. At one point, Peter was paying quite often his movie tickets. Buy Dan food and drinks at the movies. When they would go eat out, Peter would pay the tab. Sometimes They would go pickup pizza to eat at Dan’s place, and Peter would gladly pay all of it for Dan.
Peter was getting little annoyed about these behaviors from Dan. It seems like Dan was just assuming that Peter would pay him for any activity they were doing together.
It happened twice, where Dan would ask Peter if he can come with him to the groceries then drop him off home. Peter had no objection. Once at the supermarket, Dan was looking into his wallet and the item in was holding in his hands. He was very hesitant. When Peter asked him if he was okay, Dan replied that he might be short of cash. Peter was kind enough to tell him that he would pay all of his groceries.
By this time, Peter was little distant and avoiding Dan. But Peter had a big heart. Maybe too big.
When Dan told him that his last student left him, then Peter knew it was going to be tough times financially for Dan.
One day, what was bound to happen, happened. Dan asks for money to Peter. Peter had told himself that he would stay friends with Dan till the day he will ask for money directly to him. Dan was not working for three months now. Not sure why he was not looking for a job. He kept telling Peter that he wanted to be a life coach. But how can you be a life coach if your own life seems not under control? Rare you see life coach succeed. It is not an easy task. Do-able, but a rough path. Ask Tony Robbins…
When Peter said that we can’t help him. Two weeks later, Dan had found a job as a waiter. Does this mean that Dan was not going to look for work if Peter had given him some cash? He was asking for two grand. Quite a sum for someone that does not have a job and has accumulated debts lately.
Peter almost gave in and wanted to help Dan. Then he realized that if he loans out that money to Dan, he will never learn.
It is good to have dreams but you cannot stay home do nothing till you find your ideal dream job. In the meantime, you got to keep working, even if that job is not fun or it is a low paying job.
This friendship started has a two-way street and it became one way street. That is when Peter ceased visiting and communicating with Dan. Better be alone then be accompanied by someone who is cunning and manipulating. Either Dan is naïve or cunning. Or both…
What Peter found strange, after many months of absence of communication between both of them, Dan never asked Peter for the reason why they are not meeting and going out anymore. Seems like to Peter, Dan was just in this friendship to use him towards the end. Peter felt bad to lose Dan but thinks it is probably the thing to do. Three years have gone by, and Dan never texted or called Peter if they can talk, or meet up…