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Sneer MaskWe became friends because we were colleagues in the same group.  It was a bunch of pastors from the same area of the state.  We got together once a month for food and conversation and enjoyed the professional and collegial stimulation.

He was pastor for a church that eventually had some internal problems, and the church had a terrible split which created two churches.  He left with the group that split away, and also left our group.  He disappeared, and we didn’t see him after that.

Several years passed.  One day the phone in my office rang; it was my old friend.  “Hi Bruce.  How are you?  Still at the same church?”  We talked for a couple of minutes, and I was elated that he had called to reconnect.  Until……

“Have you heard of colostrum?” he asked.  “Colostrum?” I’m wondering.  “Isn’t that the first fluid that a nursing baby gets from its mother?  Why would he be talking about colostrum?  What could colostrum possibly have to do with our friendship?”  My mind went into warp drive.

He went on.  “Colostrum has wonderful health benefits, and my wife is now a distributor of it.  By going to this website and entering her number, you can purchase this great product and she will get credit for it.”

Whatever warm feelings I had about his calling evaporated.  He wasn’t calling a friend; I was just a potential customer.  A means to make money.  I could feel my mind shutting down.  “How can I get out of this conversation?” I thought.  I didn’t buy the product, and we never talked again.

A good friend of mine calls people like this a “one way street.”  In other words, the relational traffic only goes in their direction.  They don’t care about anyone but themselves.  It’s disappointing, especially when you fall for their opening lines.  “How are you doing?  I’ve been thinking about you.”