Machiavelli said that you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. He meant that you should always surround yourself by people you know and trust, but you should also keep an extremely close eye on your enemy, to limit their ability to hurt you.
The corollary to that rule is, it's your friends who can do you the most harm, because you don't see their betrayal coming.
Those who have met me casually may not believe it, because my public persona is a pretty gregarious guy, but I'm actually fairly shy. Ambulance Driver is a magnification of Kelly Grayson's personality – the good parts and the bad parts. The guy you see speaking at conferences is gregarious and entertaining, because that's what he's paid to be. I enjoy doing that stuff, and I'm fairly good at it, but when I want to relax, away from crowds and people I don't know, I'm just… me.
I don't try to be particularly entertaining, and I don't try to hide who I am. I'm also fairly passionate about my profession and my personal beliefs, and I'm not shy about expressing that. To those who don't know me well, it sometimes comes off as arrogance. My true friends know better.
And that circle of true friends is a surprisingly small group of people. Not many people do I trust implicitly. To the rest, I'm polite and gracious, but the humor is a mechanism to keep people from getting too close. That's a character flaw on my part, and it has caused me grief on more than one occasion, but occasionally I am reminded why I find it difficult to trust people.
Recently, I discovered that one of my circle of friends violated my trust, and the trust of several other close friends, over a period of years. Not only that, but in the course of discussing and investigating the depth and breadth of this person's betrayal, it came to my attention that this person has waged a clandestine campaign of character assassination against me specifically for several years. Part of me isn't surprised, because we've clashed and argued before, but apparently what I thought was water under the bridge only fueled this person's enmity and resentment.
Or hell, it might have nothing to do with anything I did at all. This person never really needed a reason to be angry. They were perfectly willing and able to imagine an insult and run with it. I should have seen the signs long before, rather than chalk it up to my philosophy that every friend should be permitted one major flaw.
Delusions, hypocrisy and a fucking martyr complex a mile wide are not just one fatal flaw, however.
And if it were just directed at me, I could ignore that. But this person also deliberately tried to sabotage my personal relationship with my girlfriend, as well. That, I cannot forgive nor ever forget.
So, flush one toxic personality, and I'll sleep better tonight knowing they're gone.
Oh, and "Lily Price?"
I know who you are now. Did you think I'd never find out? If I hear my name has passed your lips ever again, I. Will. Ruin. You.