When I was a kid, there was a mean game called Monkey in the Middle. It involved three or more players. The object was to keep an item, usually a ball or a meaningful belonging, from one selected player – the Monkey – for as long as possible. This resulted in humility for the Monkey. Keep Away, as it was also known, was really a cruel game that made those in the middle feel down.
But life can be a much more complex game of Monkey in the Middle. Whether it is a conflict between people, weighing options of a decision or busy with life, we often find ourselves in the middle of something. Sure, we can take sides, but there are alwaze consequences. We may sacrifice relationships, betray others and/or feel unworthy when doing so.
No matter the situation: work, school, friendship, love, family, Monkey in the Middle enters the social dynamics. Instead of keeping an item away, it could be a person keeping you away from others. For instance, a parent can keep a daughter away from a person who is known to be a bad influence. On the flipside, a guy can keep his friend from dating a girl for his own selfish desires – just one aspect of a phenomenon, which on the streets is known as cock-blocking. This topic will soon be a future slice.
I grew up in a single-parent home. It was my mom, my sister and I – a typical triad. Like in any human interaction, disagreements inevitably arose. Quite frequently, my sister and mom would get into arguments regarding crucial, but mostly minor, issues. Because they are both strong-minded females, neither one would back down resulting in an relentless verbal assault. To bring about a temporary peace, I would begrudgingly listen to each person’s points and like a good judge choose a side and provide a verdict. Both my mom and sister had a chance to play judge when I had differences within the household.
That’s the problem with trios – two people will almost alwaze team up on the remaining person. It starts with one person opposing, getting jealous or simply disliking the other. When this happens, one of the two, and/or sometimes both will attempt to gain favor from the third person. And this works several times over within a group. Classic Survivor/Real World/Apprentice/Random-Reality-show alliance strategy.
Sadly, many reasons can be listed why a friend would not like another friend. It has happened to me throughout my life, as it does with everyone. Friends from one circle would not initially approve of friends from another circle. I was too naïve to make any smart decisions about past friendships. What I wish I knew then was to not bail on friendships to start new ones. Instead of starting a new chapter, I’ve decided to simply introduce new characters in my life story.
When meeting a new friend of a friend, it is best to get to know that person without assuming or making snap decisions. You would not do that regarding an item. Most people would research or hear what others have to say about said item. Unfortunately, we can’t do that with people. So, we must take in account what our friends say about their new friends. There must be a reason why they are friends in the first place. Find that reason because…it’s funky in the middle.
Now about choosing friends over lovers and vice versa is a completely different slice. Stay toasted.
“Can we all get along?” – Rodney King