Taking an Interest

I’ve always had good relationships with people older than me. Perhaps it’s because I’m the youngest of 4 children and I had to obey what my 3 older and stronger siblings told me, so that I wouldn’t get crushed. However, as I got older, these relationships with my siblings changed, as I matured and so that they moved from one of fear into one of mutual respect and acceptance.

This respect for my elders is something that has stayed with me today. Especially when I talk about one elder in particular who I just spent this past weekend with in Toronto. He’s much older, 60 plus (I’ve never asked him his age), tall, and loves sports. The latter is what we really share in common. Whether it be hockey games, with the Ottawa 67’s which he’s been taking me for years, or with the Toronto Blue Jays, where we checked out the Blue Jays home opening games, we always have a good time.

Now this isn’t one of those cases where my buddy, we’ll call him Sam, is taking me under his wing as his own child. He already has 4. It’s just one of those relationships that you wish everyone could have, an older friend that you share a lot in common with and enjoy chilling with.

Sam is basically my adopted dad. My parents joke all the time about him in that way. Although I already have a great father, having what amounts to almost a second one is pretty cool.

Sam has a lot of great qualities. The quality about him I appreciate probably the most is that he’s straight to the point. He’ll offer to take me to  hockey games, and if I say no, no big deal. He accepts it and moves on. Not like some of my friends my age who keep pestering me to do things I’m just not feeling at the moment.

Another trait about Sam is he likes to talk. So do I. We can talk about the Blue Jays, 67s, or the Senators, whether it’s on the phone or in person for quite some time. Unfourtunatly, the talk on the Ottawa sports scene for Sam and I has been dull, since the Senators have been long out of the playoffs and the 67s got recently swept in the 1st round. Go Blue Jays!

Finally, Sam is really cool. He just gets it. Although much older than me, he gives me my space and understands as our relationships has grown, I may not want to do the same things today as much as I did in the past. That means less 67s games. However, road trips (which I have always loved, did a road trip to Orlando a few years back) to see the Blue Jays and friends have replaced that. In my opinion, that is a sign of a good relationship. Even if it evolves to where maybe you aren’t doing the same things as before, you still make time to hang out in some capacity.

So who is the Sam in your life? It’s always nice when someone outside your family, peers, or girlfriend/boyfriend takes an interest in you. The more friends the merrier I think.  Especially if you’re me and sports is your thing. Because after all the fun of last weekends games, me and Sam are already gearing up for when the next Blue Jays trip is. I think in July maybe? The New York Yankees are in town…

Don’t be a Deer

I haven’t been in this position often. But it is one where time and time again I find myself observing others being in. Now the reason for me personally not being in this position is because of the tendency of both myself and my girlfriend at the time of sequestered ourselves from the outside world, hanging out together just the two of us, all the time. This leaves us far away from any outside distractions, able to do as we wish without being thrust into this uncomfortable position. This position I’m referring to is called being a deer caught in headlights, relationship version.

It happens when you’re at a social event, like a house party or a club, and you and your new girlfriend are enjoying a fairly good night. Being the savvy gentleman you are, it’s time to introduce her to your friends for the first time. You decide you will introduce her to your friends who are in relationships first, as you figure, since being locked down as well they get the relationship thing, while as your single friends are most likely looking for something and will be eyeing your new girlfriend.

However you just made a big mistake. Your friends, who are in relationships, see this as an opportunity to make passes on your girlfriend, which you thought would only be done by your single friends. Suddenly, they are talking with your girlfriend with ease, casually flirting, leaving you in the background, with only careful nods and a blank look on your face…the deer caught in headlights face. Your role has shifted now from boyfriend to deer. With little to say because of being in shock, you become insignificant wishing your friend would just shut up so you can spend time with your girlfriend. However, because of the “I have a girlfriend already so it’s not flirting” mentality of your friend (probably a “friend” at this point) he doesn’t get the cue to stop and your left helpless.

So what do you do? As I have said before, I have observed this on many occasions. So I’ve come up with a couple suggestions in hopes that this doesn’t happen to you.

Establish your ground

Did you hit on your friends girlfriends when they first introduced themselves? Probably not. The reason is they established their ground. Be a man. Give her a big hug and say: “Guys, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend _____?”. Seal it with a butt slap. Nothing tells another guy whose boss better than a butt slap.

Give her space

Sometimes the tendency to stop behaviour occurs when you leave the situation. By hanging around perhaps it gives your friend cause to keep talking together because technically you are right beside her (but are not particpating in the conversation). So leave them alone. Go chat with other friends for a bit. Hopefully she gets bored and decides to find you.

Say something

Say something to your girlfriend, to take the conversation back into your control, shifting  her focus back on you and not your friend. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable with your own girlfriend? She is your girlfriend remember?

Conclusion

No one wants to have the deer in headlights look on their face. It’s an uncomfortable and weird feeling for a guy. I’ve seen too many friends get trapped into this predicament. But there is a way out. Use my tips. If you choose not to, at least you were warned. Because having that deer caught in headlights look could last as your impression on your face for quite some time. Or maybe even forever.