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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Surviving Friendship!

As I sit down to write this post I am very troubled to say the least. Understanding the concepts I write about and implementing them fast enough to stay out of un-needed conflict is very difficult sometimes; at least it is for me. Sometimes I think that friendship is over rated and I should just avoid the risk.

A good friend of my (Bill S.) suggested something very wise to me that made me think. I was chatting with him about a recent "FUBAR" situation that I found myself in. As I thought about his insight, it made me think of young bull Elk. Young bulls spar, it is friendly and even seen as a form of play for them. This goes on for sometime. The sparring eventually grows into fighting for herd ranking and the right to breed cows. I began to wonder about the moment the young bull realizes that the sparring has moved from play and practice to flat out malicious survival.

As a young man I would use humor to gain acceptance. Once I was introduced into a herd of "young bulls" the humor moved into a kind of verbal sparring. I always enjoyed it. In fact I never saw it as a negative thing. I never realized that some would participate in this kind of activity with a malicious heart nor did I realize that some would internalize the comments. I always looked at it as a form of wrestling and if someone became uncomfortable they would just tap out and get into the next match. I have taken some good verbal blows by good friends. I would not take it serious, or I would get over it quick because I knew we were friends and that we really cared about each other. I am sure young elk accidentally injury each other with those big racks of theirs. Anyway, back to Bill's comment.

Bill suggested that the verbal sparring is an activity that young men get into. At some point men mature and move away from such behavior. The need to find our place in the hierarchy of mankind subsides and we no longer need to spar or jockey for our place. I think he may be right. My problem is the damage en route to that maturity. I tend to push myself very hard. I am starting to realize that by pushing myself hard I may have inadvertently push others to the point of incompatibility. As I began to mature, I realize that I have hurt some of those I truly care about. And that breaks my heart. I still do not understand why some just do not speak up or "tap out" before a relationship is destroyed. I also realize that verbal sparring takes two. I do not think either side is trying to destroy the relationship, they just get caught up in the "one up" game to point of disaster.

Anyway, Maybe we should take a hard look at all of our relationships and ensure that we are not communicating something we do not intend to. I know I am. I want to move into a season where I can effectively encourage my friends. I realize that what once was play is now destructive. I have never wished to tear down anyone, not even my foes. So, I will once again pick up the pieces, and go forward learning once again from my mistakes. I just hope I can survive my friendships and they can survive me!

4 comments:

Peajay said...

Do you not feel that the ability to see the verbal sparring for what it is i.e. just sparring and to be able to accept whichever words are used and not allow it to affect the relationship is more the test of friendship. All relationships are based on give and take, this also applies to the verbal sparring, if you can't take it don't give it out. I don't believe that you are so oblivious as to be able to destroy 'true' friendship with words however they were expressed. In the words of the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” Perhaps you have previously misinterpreted the subtle differences between mates and true friends.

Talking Bear said...

Peajay, Thanks for your post. Yes I do realize the difference. In fact as you said, "just sparring and to be able to accept whichever words are used and not allow it to affect the relationship is more the test of friendship. All relationships are based on give and take, this also applies to the verbal sparring, if you can't take it don't give it out. I don't believe that you are so oblivious as to be able to destroy 'true' friendship with words however they were expressed."
This is my point of view.

I may have misinterpreted the differences between mates and true friends. I have no issues with the sparring, I enjoy it. Maybe I am learning (painfully so) about the defining moments between true friends and mates. Altough, the realtionship that created this current issue, Spanned over 16 years with a lot of true friend stuff. It was out of the blue that conflict came about. I was so shocked by the statements from this person that I am still confused as to the whole matter.

But I think you are right on the money. This person verbally spared all the time. I thought he enjoyed it as much as I did, evidently not. Thanks again for your insight, I love it!!

fatnlazy said...

Forgive me as I know that I am not quoting this correctly, but, "From the mouth speaks the depths of the heart".May be there is more truth to your verbal sparring than you realize. Could it be that you have actually touched something deep with in that person, who has yet to come to terms with it? A feeling of inadequacy? And by "tapping out" would only make it worse?
Even with people we call friends, it is hard to hear the truth about our selves. Either inadvertently, subconsciously or out right.
We are scared to let someone see the real us for fear of rejection.
And when they do, it makes us uncomfortable.
If you havent already, I would talk to this friend and try to repair any damage, that is, if it is worth it to you.

Talking Bear said...

FNL, Thanks for the insight. I sensed something was wrong, went to that person and asked what was up. I tried to reconcile the whole thing, although I was not aware of the issues that were brought up. I took responsibility for my part and tried repair what I could.

It is possible as you say,, that I touched on something. But from what I gathered from the comments made, that it was more like a long term issue, that everything I have ever done was to insult this person for over 16 years, not a one time thing. I know that is not my style at all. I am sure that is a lot more than the "sparring", but what I do not know. And I mean that this person gave as much as was got, so I cant see the you hurt me but I never hurt you mindset. SOmewhere in there it became ugly and I missed it, for this I am saddened.

I said my sorrys and voiced the value of the realtionship. I think I should let time do some healing......

Thanks for the post, :)

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