Staying In Touch

I think all guys who have buddies from high school, college, or just in general, want to stay in touch with each other way more than they actually do.

There’s all sorts of different reasons and excuses not to stay in touch.

I know for me it’s been difficult for a few years now. I’m married with 15, 12, 4, and 2 year-olds-olds running around the house.

I’ve had a ton of things going on within my marriage that have taken away time from other things as well. We have had plenty of ups and downs and I’ve needed to focus a lot of my energy and time on just my marriage alone.

I lost touch with probably 6-8 of my core friends I used to communicate with during that period of time.

With things going better within the confines of my marriage, and the pandemic keeping me home, I’ve had plenty of extra time this year (even with the responsibilities of taking care of the kids.)

It has left me with a lot of time to think.

A couple weeks ago I thought to myself I don’t deserve it, and some of my friends, if not all of them, I’m sure have felt abandoned, but I’m just gonna reach back out to each of them in some way, shape, or form and see what happens. Let the chips fall where they may.

I wrote two of them a letter. I called and talked to a couple more. Talked in person with one, and texted back and forth with a few more. I’m still playing phone tag with one guy after leaving a voicemail.

Overall the responses I’ve received have been extremely positive, and the result of getting all this stuff off my chest after all these years has been marvelous for my psyche.

There was a lot of I love you too type coded language.

It’s sort of a testament to some of the things I used to be very confident about coming back into my life… I could always tolerate a lot of people, but I was very picky about who my real friends were.

I am an extremely good judge of character. I have an innate ability to read people. I have good instincts. My sense about whether someone is genuinely a good person or just putting on a front is usually dead on.

And despite a history of being hypocritical and slimy myself, I have very little patience for anyone around me who is disingenuous.

That’s why I’ve always said, I don’t have very many friends, but the ones I do have are lifers.

Back in the day, I was always the one to make sure to stay in touch with everybody. At times it felt like a responsibility but I always enjoyed it. And it was easy because I was always single, looking to find ways to meet up and do stuff.

Nine times out of ten I was the person instigating the texts. Never bothered me.

I would text my friend Megan constantly when she moved out to Seattle. I said to myself I’m never gonna let her forget me, and it worked too…

Before I moved to Texas we made sure to get together at least once a year. I’d go out to Seattle or she’d come camping with me in Montana. And I just talked to her the other day.

There’s literally something one of a kind about every friend I have in my life. I’ve always known that and have strived to take advantage of seeing them whenever possible.

I became I big Gonzaga basketball fan in order to be invited on road trips and over to friend’s houses to watch as many of the games as possible.

I made sure to arrange to golf at Seeley Lake at least once a year with a friend who had a cabin out there, and anyone else I could find who was interested.

I studied acupuncture, started drinking wine, occasionally took a hit off a weed pipe.

The Buffalo Bills became my 2nd favorite NFL team—a distant runner-up, but still in my top 2.

I always wanted to get a poker game going. I’d play beer pong, dance, etc.

I used to do all that stuff, but, at the beginning of 2017, I completely abandoned some of my friends.

Around that time I was being criticized by my wife for having the strong, instinctual ability to keep in touch with friends, while possessing zero fortitude, and an extreme inability, to take of things properly within our marriage.

It was a total bunch of bullshit, but that’s the way I was perceived.

I’m not arguing the fact that I could’ve been a way better husband and taken care of things better on the homefront, but it had zero to do with the fact that I was keeping in touch with all my friends.

So I decided that I needed to straighten up and show my wife my ability to always put her number 1. Which included discarding and not keeping in touch with my friends.

I got new phone numbers, never used my phone in front of her. If I had a phone conversation it was never with her being in the same room. Same thing for texting.

I did what I needed to do, still stayed in touch sparingly with some and totally discounted others.

Things have been back on the upswing for about a year or so now. It’s always a work in progress, but overall the improvement in my marriage has consistently been there.

But now that things are back to normal it’s not like I can just pick up right where I left off with the friends I lost touch with. Especially living all the way down here in Texas.

I’ve had to get a little creative.

My buddy Tyson and I have been playing a gambling game based around the NFL. We make picks every week for five dollars a game. The genius of the game being whoever I pick, Tyson automatically gets the opposite team, and vice versa.

It’s possibly the greatest game ever invented, first presented to me by a good friend of mine in Missoula, Montana.

Even if you’re awful at picking games you can still win. I contend that is exactly what’s going on this year, as Tyson continues to kick my ass every week.

The real beauty of it is it gives Tyson and I an excuse to stay in touch once a week. We call to get each other’s picks on Saturdays and usually end up raving about the previous week’s action or just end up bullshitting and telling stories from our past.

Those calls always lead to a lot of laughs.

I have two other friends that are big Minnesota sports fans as well. Both with the Vikings and Twins. That’s a real easy avenue to be able to stay in touch.

Baseball season flew by last year and it was always fun to text back and forth with Tanner to get his comical assessment of the Twins games.

Same thing with Taylor and the Vikings. We hardly ever agree on the direction of the team, but the conversations flow effortlessly into talking about other areas of our lives.

Although I’ve noticed it’s sort of an unspoken rule that if you’re the male of the family you don’t send pictures of your kids to your other male friends, I’ve been in the business of slowly nudging that rule aside. I like to send the occasional picture of my kids to friends who have families of their own.

That’s a great way to break the ice. (How much does a polar bear weigh…)

Often times I send pictures to one of my friend’s moms as well. I figure that’s the perfect spot to get everyone’s attention.

Some of my other friends have been a little tougher to stay in touch with.

As I wrote in What I’ve Learned Most About Myself Since Becoming A Father, I understand that there are consequences for my actions.

I have blindly texted a couple friends that I haven’t heard back from. It sucks, but I keep reminding myself that the most important thing right now is to get your apology out there, don’t expect anything back from it, and move forward as the man you should’ve been then and the one you are now.

The years fly by and everyone is always busy these days. I can’t let myself worry about the past and if my actions have caused me to lose friends. I simply need to let it be known that I acknowledge what I’ve done, that I’m sorry, and I’m no longer running.

I accept that responsibility.

The responses I generate from that will be up to the individual, and will get my respect no matter what they entail.

Now it’s my responsibility as a husband, father, and man to shred all the insecurities that have been holding me back, walk the line on the actual life I want to live, and by my words and actions—show my kids what a solid human being their dad is.

I can’t wait to intertwine all that with my ability to stay in touch, randomly, with those who want to stay in touch.

You may even be seeing a reboot of my podcast, this time with special guest appearances.

Stay tuned.