Two weeks ago, I shared an experience Rob and I had describing how we’d bumped into a couple whom we’ve not seen in a year and a half despite our several suggestions for our families to get together.
If you didn’t read it, here is the link: Awkward
Fourteen days later, we were back at the same athletic complex, but this time their child’s team and our child’s team were playing one another. Rob and I tend to watch these indoor soccer games from midfield (think nine o’clock orientation); they were on the far side end (think one o’clock). As soon as I saw their child on the field, I started scanning around and spotted them. Whether they did the same thing upon seeing our child, I don’t know.
Ten minutes into the 50-minute game, Rob says, “I think we should go over and say ‘hello.'” A discussion ensues between the two of us. Result: he goes over; I don’t. My refusal to go over was not due to any inkling I had that they’d read the original “Awkward” post. (In fact, I’d venture to guess they haven’t taken an interest in this blog — much in the same way they seem to have no interest in spending time with our family.) My refusal to go over and chit-chat with them rested in my feeling so deeply hurt by what I perceive as their willful neglect of our two-decades-long friendship.
My heart rate ticked up as I watched Rob head over. As much as I tried to look interested in the soccer game, which separated me from them, I was distracted wondering what I was missing. Their body language seemed to show it was only an idle conversation. Less than ten minutes later, Rob was back.
Reluctant as I was to ask right then –fearing he’d say something which would cause me to have a visible reaction — I said, “And how’d that go?” (Rob is a perceptive guy. He picks up on a lot of sub-surface happenings. I trusted his assessment would be concise and accurate.)
He turned to me and said, “I don’t know. Maybe we did something to upset them, maybe not.”
I probed, I inquired, I cross-examined. And there was Rob: squarely on the fence. (A tiny voice in my head said, “You should have gone over, you big baby. Then you’d have your own conclusion to make.”)
After the game, they went one way, we went the other, no paths crossed.
Then came the “debrief.” We analyzed the happenings: both recent and historical. We discussed tactics: both proactive and dismissive. We assessed worth: both of the friendship and of our “dignity.”
In the end, what did we settle on?
I decided to send them both the link to my two-week-old “Awkward” post. Rob wanted it to be couched in a preamble or introduced with a gentle explanation or conclude with an invitation to discuss the situation. I retorted by explaining that my post was a 900-word preambled, explained invitation to them to clear the air.
I sent it to them: the naked link.
(I believe they saw it based on my interpretation of my stats page: there were two “visits” to the “Awkward” post which seemingly came “direct” rather than through FB, Twitter, Google+, etc.)
And all day yesterday we waited for an email or a call or a carrier pigeon.
So now I am left feeling worse than awkward. I’m left feeling like I shared 900 reflective, intimate, and vulnerable thoughts with people I have deeply cared about only to be left wondering.
What will I do if they never take the time to share their thoughts? I suppose there’s nothing “to do” except try to go into that sport complex head up and shoulders back with the belief that there’s only so much coaxing one can do to get a horse to drink.