Two weeks ago I spent a few days at my company’s headquarters for a day of training and a night of partying. All the satellite offices were in attendance so there were a lot of people to meet. Many of these people I have had working relationships with for years but have never met them in person.
I was particularly excited to meet a co-worker, whom I will call Fabio from one of the satellite offices. The two of us have been working together for about five years and for the past year I have been one of his supervisors. Over this time, we have gotten to know each other pretty well and have developed a friendship.
Even though a month prior he told me in a drunken state that he was gay. The conversation bothered me because (a) he called me during the day while he was drunk and (b) it was super uncomfortable. But I was still excited to meet him and put that conversation to the side. He didn’t know that it made me feel uncomfortable and I’m sure he felt kind of odd, after the fact, spilling his guts while he was drunk.
We met in the lobby and hugged and chatted non-stop for the entire day. We were nearly attached at the hip throughout the training sessions all day. We were like two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years.
It was good. Really good. That evening we mingled with other people from the company but always found our way back to each other. At dinner we talked about how we both were trying to becoming minimalist and discussed books we liked to read. We both raved over the blues band playing and sang lyrics to some of our favorite songs. I out right called him gay on numerous occasions for his frequent references to Mary Tyler Moore. We laughed so hard together that several people asked if we knew each other before that weekend.
At one point the girls from my office pulled me away because they thought I needed to escape from him. How could I possibly being having fun with Fabio? I was upset and I stuck up for him and said he was awesome and they should really get to know him.
Fabio and I were two peas in a pod for those two days. There was a brief moment at dinner when our political views came into the conversation. I quickly mentioned I was very conservative and he said, “Please tell me you wouldn’t vote against gay marriage?” I sipped my wine and didn’t make eye contact and he quickly said, “Maybe this isn’t a conversation we should have.” And I agreed.
He knew where I stood without me saying it and from his previous drunken conversation, I knew where he stood. But we both realized that we had a great working relationship and now a good friendship that we didn’t want it to be tampered with our difference. So we moved on to the next topic and it never came up again.
And I’m completely cool with that. I’m actually so relieved and wouldn’t know what I would do if he waited for me to answer. Because I would have been honest and said how I feel. Lovingly of course but I know no matter how lovingly I could have been it still would have hurt him.
But now I know that I respect him so much more than I did before. He apparently feels very deeply about this issue. Likewise, I feel passion about it. But I’m glad that we put the real issue of ‘love thee neighbor’ first.
So many times people get all up in arms over a particular issue and they forget what they are really fighting for and who they are fighting against. It shouldn’t be a fight but so many people make it that way.
I really respect this person and see him as a friend. A good friend that is. And I’m so glad we can keep it that way, regardless of how we vote.