One of the things that surprised me about Chris when I first met him was that he was funny, but not snarky. He was smart and witty, but not bitingly so.
Then I met his friends from high school, when they were having a game night. These were some heavy-hitting smartsters, most of whom had advanced degrees and had gotten together since they were teenagers to play brainiac board games together.
Intimidated much? Absolutely!
They were nice. They were patient with me and explained how the games were played. They welcomed me and said they were glad to have me there.
What the hell. Did they think I was so far below them that pity was the only response they could give?
I was not used to this. I was used to constant pecking order, and power struggles between friends and enemies.
The word frenemies hadn’t been invented yet, more’s the pity.
These guys got together and played strategy games that involved devious backstabbing and shifting alliances. They played at it.
On the board.
In real life, they were good friends, and continued to enjoy one another’s company as the years went by.
I got away from my teenage mean girl cliques. By the time I met Chris I was trying to make it in my corporate career.
I thought I’d left the cliques behind. I did not know. The disenfranchised adolescents gave way to disenfranchised employees. And like the teens, my co-worker comrades dug in and made a lifestyle of mean.
Mean people suck.
Chris’s friends showed me a new way. I could easily extrapolate from the present adult relationships the teenage ones that had been.
People can be nice.
Even my boss.
Just because they hadn’t been doesn’t mean that all people of that type will follow suit.