Confidants, Constituents, and Comrades (Untucked Column #17)

A little over a year ago, I was struggling to figure out where I stood with people in my world and vice versa. In January 2018, my best friend Lalo sent me a link to a short message that broke down three types of people we have in our life. This is my summary of that message. I hope this helps you like it did me.

First up are the confidants. You have to be able to trust somebody. Someone you can be honest and open with about your frustration and struggles and be able to say, “This is how it really is.” These are the people who know YOU. This is someone who you can be transparent and vulnerable with. These are the people who are with you whether you are in the penthouse or the outhouse; when you’re on top of the world or when life is on top of you.

Confidants are WITH you. When everyone else is running from you, these are the people that run to you. They know your deepest darkest secrets and they are still with you. These are the people that you are so comfortable with, it’s as if you are by yourself. You don’t get tired of your confidants because you don’t feel the need to act a different way in their presence. You are just normal, goofy, weird, awkward you!  This is important to understand: the confidant’s commitment is to YOU not your cause. The confidant is not in it for the money; the prestige, recognition or the title — it is to you and for you! If you have 2-3 people in this category over the course of your lifetime — you’ve done REALLY WELL and you should consider yourself extremely fortunate. This will and should be your smallest category.

The second category is constituents. They are with IT - they are with the cause - not you. They are only with you because of the cause.  They look just like a confidant — walking right beside you. It’s easy to get confused. Their attraction is the mission. You can have them with you but you have to know WHY they are with you. They are with you as long as you are getting them closer and closer to the mission. The way you differentiate these categories is motives. They do the same thing but they do it for different reasons. The confidant will be with you even when the cause goes down or when someone offers them a quick road to get there without you. The constituent — if they see a quicker route or THINK it’s a quicker route — they will leave you in a heartbeat. 

You have to be able to work with people who come and go. Consider scaffolding – it goes right up against the building. It snuggles up against the building. It’s so tight against the building that you cannot get in between the scaffolding and the building but when the building is up, the scaffolding goes away. Some people come in your life to get you to your next destination — they did not come to stay, they came to leave. You have to love them when they come and love them when they go. Don’t get bitter over constituents.  It teaches us to understand and appreciate those that are for us (that we don’t need EVERYONE in our world to be there for us.)

The third and final category is the comrades. They are in the fight with you! They will not stop until you have won.  They are not for you. They are not for your cause. They are not what you are for. They are for what you are against.  They joined up with you to help you fight what you are against. 

When you are in a fight and someone joins you in the fight, do not mistake them for your friend.  Don’t let yourself get lonely and confide in a comrade because when the fight is over — they can use what you told them against you.  You say your friend betrayed you — but they were never your friend. They were never for you. They were simply against what you were against and for that period of time, you shared a common interest.  

If you want to identify who is really for you, they’ll mourn when you mourn and rejoice when you rejoice. Watch their reaction when you share good news. If they are not happy for you, stop talking. Most people aren’t out to get you. However, when you realize who is for you versus who is with you, you’ll see your peace increase!

Steve Sauceda