Monday, 23 June 2014



We all know and respect people who are generous and we all know and dislike people who are tightfisted and mean.

Apart from being an obnoxious human attribute I do not believe that it is possible to be both mean and a real Christian at the same time.

Personally I find lack of generousity and meanness one of the most offputting attributes in any human being. In fact I really prefer not to have to be in contact at all with mean people.

I have a friend whom I shall call Henry (not his real name) who does not in fact practice any form of religion but who is one of the most generous people I have ever met.

He is now retired and is comfortably off. He is an avid newspaper reader and very often when he reads about somebody's misfortune in a newspaper he makes it his business to find that person's address and send them an anymous donation in the post.

I know this not because he talks about what he does but because in our regular and long conversations about life, religion and people he accidentially lets things drop without realising it. One one occasion a few years ago the grave of a young man from Belfast was vandalised by the paramilitaries who had murdered him. Henry anonymously sent the family a few thousand pounds by post to have a new headstone erected.

When we meet for meals as we regularly do he ALWAYS wants to pick up the bill. Coming to the end of the meal he invariable says: "I think its my turn to pay this time". I ALWAYS insist that we pay time about and have told him that if he does not accept that I will not keep meeting him. Of course I would never do that but it is the only way I can show respect for him and not abuse his generousity.

Thank God I know a small number of generous people like this in my life.

On the other hand I seem to have the misfortune of knowing far too many of the other types. You know the type I mean:

The one who will always let YOU pay for the coffee or meal while they fingerthrough their purses or wallets unenthusiastically.

The one who will always arrive at your house for dinner with the cheapest bottle of wine they can find while saying: "I hope this is ok, I don't know much about wines"!

The one who will bring you their unwanted Christmas or birthday present as a present and make a great fuss over giving it to you.

The one who will arrive in the hospital with a small bunch of wilted flowers from a service station lamenting how difficult it is to find florists these days.

The one who will come to visit you with only foreign currency in their wallet, ask you if there is a bureau de change in the locality and go back home with their wallets intact.

The one you ask for a short term temporary loan who replies: "I would love to but I have had a few big bills to pay this month - pity you didn't ask me last month".

I could go on giving examples. But I'm sure you have already got the message.

The Jesus I love said: "The amount you will be given is the amount you have given".

I wonder how he will deal with mean people when he meets them?

I am now 62 years young. I find as I get older I have less time for mean people. I find that they disturb my spirit. I find that I do not want them in my life as I have other and more important issues to deal with and think about.

I really find myself wanting to tell them to do what Father Dougal in Father Ted told people. I want to firmly tell them to FECK OFF.  Only its not always Feck I want to say.

Am I being intolerant? I am. But I firmly believe that mean people should not be tolerated!

+Pat Buckley


  1. Pat it seems as if you are speaking from personal experience of having experienced a mean person. Have you been hurt by a parasite who has sponged off you?

  2. Not particularly - but like everyone else that has happened me.

    I was more commenting in general on the generous and not so generous people I have met in the course of my life.

    Actually I have spent thye day today in Dublin with a longstanding friend who has been so generous in many ways.

    Was just expresing some thoughts that have been on my mind for a few days.


  3. Mean people should be tolerated but not as friends as you only end up resenting them. I’ve put up with the sort of ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ type friend but I have always dropped them in the end, even after enduring them for many years. I haven’t missed any of them.

  4. No Pat, you're not being intolerant with the mean spirited, you're simply being properly assertive.
    Assertiveness is often confused with aggression, and shouldn't be. With the meanie, it means leaving aside our inherent politeness of not wishing to offend by stating the obvious, eg. "I've paid the last 2/3/4 times so I think it's your turn now.........Oh you've forgotten your purse, .......Well tell you what, I'll have to pay this time again, but I'll get you the receipt as a reminder to only ask me out when you can bring your purse, and that you're paying. OK"
    Said with a smile, the message is clear and unambiguous, and if they don't deliver, chuck them for you certainly won't miss them.