Sunday, August 8, 2010

The rules of friendship

In sports there are basic rules that are easy to understand and follow. Five fouls in a college basketball game equals disqualification for the rest of the game for that player. Three strikes and you are out in baseball. If any part of the ball touches the line in tennis the shot is in. These rules create order and are necessary for the health of athletics. Maybe that is part of the reason I have been drawn to sports my entire life because unlike others areas there is a certain rationality to sports?

I bring this up because last night I had an interesting conversation with an old friend. He asked me why he wasn't invited to the wedding. This was the first time the topic of not being invited had come up in such a straight forward manner. I assume that most people who weren't invited to the wedding understood the reason or reasons why they weren't on the list. Even if they didn't know why it had never directly come up before because people were probably too passive to actually ask M or I.

It isn't like the question caught be off guard since I knew the reasons why I didn't invite this friend or his girlfriend. Sure the *timing was maybe unusual, but I was actually glad for the question because I had spent a lot of time thinking about it. How did such a close friend of mine go from a potential groomsman to someone who wasn't even invited to the wedding? How did someone who is a easy to talk to, fun to be around and shares a lot of similar interest go from being a friend to a former friend?

*We are a bar downtown Minneapolis and were a few drinks in to the evening.

I told him the reasons why he wasn't invited to the wedding and I hope my message wasn't lost in the loud music at the bar. My message just was I didn't think this person really wanted to be friends otherwise we would have played basketball or hung out together once in the past 6 months. I wasn't trying to be vindictive in not inviting him. There was no ulterior motive. It just seemed like our friendship had gone it separate ways. Whenever I tried reaching out to him he always had something else going on and I don't remember him ever contacting me to do anything.

That is one difference between sports and life that can be very frustrating. While there is order in sports (for the most part) there isn't the same in society. Social norms exist, but they can sometimes be vague and tough to follow. If everyone spoke honestly and with a background of trust then it would much easier to understand people's intentions. One of my groomsmen is easy to be friends with because he is almost always straightforward. If he wants to go to a Twins game then he will tell you that. There is never any game playing or any *white lies as far as I can tell. We have reached that level of comfort that I never have to try and analyze what he says or how he says it. The frustrating thing is that most people don't act that way and I am constantly trying to read into people's intentions.

*I vividly remember the first time my Mom explained to me about a white lie. It was so confusing as a child to grasp my head around the concept.

One thing that I love about M (and no I am not trying to be sappy or romantic in this blog post...I don't want to be that kind of writer) is that it is very easy to know where I stand with her. The first time I kissed her she thanked me. Most people think that is a strange response, but really what was different about her choice of words was that it was completely honest. There was no games being played. She (in retrospect) wanted me to kiss her and was thankful that I did. The end. Again I don't want to be sappy, but that is a unique *quality in a person to be so literal and honest.

*Not to write that there isn't something valuable in someone who can speak at a different level other than literal. Two of my good friends from college are two of the funniest people I know and part of their humor is based on sarcasm, exaggeration and being facetious. It is always fun to hang out with these friends because you are always on your toes.

Anyway, I hope that this unique honest conversation last night with my old friend means that we can move forward. I don't know if we will be friends again, but it was a good start last night. In fact M and I are planning on meeting up with them at the Uptown Art Fair after I received a text from him while I was writing this post.

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