A Lesson In Diplomacy
I usually don't like to pat myself on the back too much. Mostly because I don't feel that I do too many things in life to warrant the self fellatio, but also because I rarely take the time to think things through enough to realize that I actually...well...did well. Today is a welcome change from that. No...I'm not going to blow myself (nowhere near flexible enough), but I am proud of playing a pivotal role in the start of patching up some turbulent situations between a couple of close friends of mine.
I'll go ahead and give some backstory to this as to not leave you fully in the dark. One of my groups of friends that I met through my shop, has become a truly tight crew. It's my Dungeons & Dragons bunch that meets on the regular. We all chill fairly often, go out for drinks, hold BBQ's, game it up, attend conventions, and overall just enjoy chillin with each other. One of the things that makes this group special is it's brutal honesty and ability to totally be ourselves around one another.
This includes what we joke about as well. I would say that I am definitely one of the "worst offenders" in the batch, if not the worst. What I mean by that is that we say whatever...for the laugh. There are no filters, and if one were to record just one evening's conversations...none of us would EVER be able to run for office....that's a safe assumption. There is nor has there ever been any venom or truth behind what we joke about. It's literally for the shock and awe...ultimately to garner the biggest laugh.
No topic is off limits...anything is fair game and we have dug deep into the bowels of hell for the darkest shit to mutter out causing uncontrollable laughter, spit-take's, and one member of the crew to anoint me as "The Worst Person She Knows". That is a title that I hold near and dear to my heart, as I know it comes from a place of love...sprinkled in with extreme disgust. I still remember the night that our one friend text us all to let the group know that he got the call to head in for his lung transplant. He has cystic fibrosis and his lungs were failing. He was extremely ill at the time and it was a legit possibility that he would not make it much longer without this procedure. That didn't stop us from giving a good ribbing to "Ol' Cadaver Lungs" as he was coined shortly after the successful operation. It was just how this particular group always jammed and came together. We have discussed tough topics in serious manners of course, but if there is an opening to work blue for a moment, we usually seize the moment and bask in the glory or jaw drops and thunderous applause.
Think of any awful thing in life...seriously. What's one of the worst topics you can think of? Go ahead. Got it? Good. Yeah...we've riffed on that plenty of times with perfect timing and confidence. It's how I have always been I think. All of my favorite comics knew how to work blue to find humor in the shittiest & darkest moments that this world has to offer. It's kind of how I cope with shit as well. When my pups were croaking one by one...I was a miserable disaster. Yet, I would still find a way to shoehorn a dead dog joke in when applicable. I don't necessarily know where I picked up this lovely trait from, but I feel I have always ended up surrounding myself with people of similar style. My family is completely batshit insane, my school friends who I am lucky to still be super tight with are all comedic scumbags and are active daily in our awful group text, my 2 groups of friends from down here are more of the same. I think I have very few close friends that are of clear conscious when it comes to cracking jokes.
The point is...anything goes...until now...
I'll try and sum this up as simply as I can. It has a ton of moving parts but I will try my best to spare you the boredom. A few weeks back, a member of our D&D group let it be known that a very specific selection of jokes hits her hard. There wasn't any real explanation behind it and it came as a total shock to everyone else in the group. It wasn't handled properly in my opinion and there was no discussion...just a throw away text glossing over this gripe. This threw a wrench into things leading to the group text becoming eerily silent and tense, a cancellation of our last game night, and a potential loss of certain friends.
This was all due to a couple of folks being super stubborn and stroking their own egos...not allowing themselves to see the bigger picture. I had a conversation for about an hour the other night with the offended party and spoke my peace. I suggested a sit down would be the best thing going forward as everyone is absolutely taken aback by the recent 180. She declined a meeting, leading to more tension and frustration amongst this bewildered crew. This was her being stubborn. One of the other fuckers in the crew took great offense and saw this as a means to silence him...his free speech and blah blah blah. So he poked the bear a bit and got bit. It took 21 minutes as he told me to get a reaction. This was him being stubborn...and a bit of a douche which he admits.
The problem was that while the rest of the group thought it was completely out of left field...including this person's other half, we all respect and value her friendship enough to try to honor her request. We had 1 holdout. Now I don't want to pile on the holdout. He has 100% valid reasons behind his stubborn decision. He even tried to get the group to discuss this as adults to air out all grievances. The offended party declined multiple times and it just kept opening up more room for questions and frustrations. Some hurtful things were said and as of last night...it looked as if the Beatles were breaking up.
I asked the holdout out to lunch today so I could try to discuss the issue a bit further. See if I could change his mind a bit and perhaps his approach. He's definitely the most crass and blunt individual of the bunch so it's no surprise that he can come off like a douche as he's trying to make his point. We had a nice lunch at Chipotle, which will most likely give us both muddbutt this evening...but it was worth it.
About an hour ago, he sent the group a text and presented his case in a civil manner. He took my advice and approached the idea of the meetup while acknowledging her gripes in a somewhat positive manner. I asked him if this was worth losing friends over and I think it really made him think long and hard. I am proud of him for handling it in a positive way. The end result is the offended party agreed to an official sit-down which I believe is set of the 27th of this month. We plan on playing that night and prior to nerding it out, we can get all the ugliness out in the open so we can all move forward.
The text is actually lively again since he extended the olive branch and she accepted. There has been some lighthearted jokes, and it seems like all parties are looking forward to the next meetup. This is a far cry from the anxious eggshell covered ghost town the text had become in recent weeks. I hope that the meeting will allow us to get everything out in the open, discuss it like adults (that play fantasy games and roleplay as dragonborn) and allow us to move on properly.
As of last night this looked as though friendships were to be broken and we would have a fractured pack. That was simply unacceptable to me along with being completely unnecessary and well...fucking stupid. All it took was some persuasion to the butt hurt parties and a hard lesson is some good ol' fashion diplomacy. That along with some undie staining Chipotle...and the swallowing of some pride....aaaaannnnnd...oh nevermind. The point is, tonight I am going to treat myself to a tasty well deserved dinner and a movie by myself, since the wife already declined to join me as she would just fall asleep on me (which she does often). I should tell you about our 3rd date one day...can you believe that mofo dozed off on my ass at the fucking Houlihan's?!?!? The nerve...
Story for another day folks...
A Very Diplomatic Blewitt