Electronic Dismissals

by admin on October 25, 2011

Recently, my boyfriend got kicked off our slo-pitch team. By our friend *Ricky. Via email. The reason? He didn’t listen to him and do what Ricky told him to. *Ricky cited ONE MISTAKE as his example. The email was truly bizarre – clearly Ricky had some long standing issues with my boyfriend, but he never did talk to him about it other than passive-aggressively boss him around on the diamond. After reading the email I called them and left a message expressing my disappointment and asked them to call back. They never did.

My boyfriend and I have been socializing with Ricky and his fiancee *Sandy for over a year at that point, and we considered them good friends. We would go out to dinner, hang out and play Rock Band, we invited them camping and once they mentioned something about us witnessing their wedding. We didn’t know there was any issues between us, because no one told us! Ricky mentioned once that they feel they were the ones to ask us to do something, and that was it.

Needless to say, I told Ricky and Sandy I was no longer willing to play for them, considering how poorly and unprofessionally they treated my boyfriend. If you have an issue with a friend, show some respect and talk to them about it face to face. Or you can show your true colours and hide behind an email like this worm.   0724-10

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

ellesee October 25, 2011 at 6:06 am

I do agree with the OP about talking face to face with friends, but sounds like there is more to this story. What exactly was the mistake? Was it a huge mistake that affected the team? What were the long standing issues? If Ricky is the captain of the team, then it would make sense that he would direct players around the field…not sure if I can count that as passive-aggressive action in particular. It sounded like Ricky had done this rather casually because friendship can lead to informality, but it’s hard to say because there is no indication of how Ricky’s tone was in the email (whether he was passive-aggressive, a jerk, etc).

Did OP leave a message on the phone stating her resignation? Or did she say it to their face? I would imagine if she had said to in person, that they would have a response of some sort….perhaps clearing things up too.

An email can just be as professional….depending on how it is written. However, I think that business is between the BF and Ricky and not so much for the OP to handle.

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Enna October 25, 2011 at 6:38 am

I can see where you are coming from OP but did your bf try talking to Rickey? That way the issue would be resolved – if you just “write off” Rickey and Sandra then in away you are being just as bad as Rickey. If Rickey and Sandra are being constantly strange then maybe. I have a firend who was being a bit funny with me at one point, we met up and she admitted that she was depressed – sometimes if firends do something out of the ordinary then there could be a plasuible explanation. When my firend told me that I did my best to morally support her, visit her regulary so she doesn’t feel isolated.

I do agree with Ellesee there is more to this story.

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Green123 October 25, 2011 at 7:10 am

There’s definitely more to this story than meets the eye. Certainly, the OP is expressing some level of sour grapes, although that may just be the rather immature writing style she has? Assuming that Ricky was the captain of the team, surely his role IS to direct other team members in what to do? And surely it’s for the OP’s partner to deal with his team issues, not his girlfriend – she’s acting like he’s a kid in school and she’s his mom!

That said, team coaches and team captains have hard decisions to make sometimes, and firing off an email is a bit of an easy way out of having a tricky conversation. I’m never a fan of using emails, etc to tell someone ‘bad news’, whether that’s a team cut, a job loss, a death or whatever. It can be hard to guage someone’s meaning clearly online, and while some things do need to be ‘formally’ put in writing for whatever reason, sometimes face to face first is much more appropriate.

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Margo October 25, 2011 at 7:47 am

I agree with Ellsee – if BF wa the one kicked off the team, he, rather than OP, should have been the one to respond ans ask for an explanation or to discuss it.

E-mail can be pretty formal,although I woul agree that it would have been more polite and more professional to speak to someone in person, and to give them the opportunity to respond.

For most mistakes I would think it would be reasonable to give the person the chance to correct it / improve, rather than throwing them off the team, but obviously that depends on whether it was a one-off of a culmination of similar problems – OP does say that Rickey cited one mistake “as his example” – to me, something being used as an example suggess that there are other, similar issues. If the OP means he only gave one isolated incident as the reaon it does sem a bit OTT.

However, to me, the OP deciding to walk off the team also seems a bit off – although it is difficult to judge without more information.

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Jojo October 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

So Ricky sends a badly worded email to a friend outlining why that friend is no longer on the team and using an example of the type of behaviour the boyfriend has exhibited to warrant being knocked off the team. OP is upset that her boyfriend has been ditched by the team in such a callous manner and decides to drop out of the team in support after having a go at Ricky and Sandy about the way in which they treated her boyfriend.
Highschool much?
Doesn’t sound like Ricky and Sandy had much of a chance to defend themselves and that a perfectly good friendship has been ruined by OP taking this very personally. We’d all be upset by a friend throwing a loved one off a sports team but, as Ellesee points out, that is entirely between b/f and Ricky. Yes, there’s a lot of awkwardness and discomfort there but it doesn’t mean that OP can’t give Sandy a call and see if they can find a constructive way to smooth over the situation.
I do feel like the OP really wants a confrontation and for Sandy and Ricky to see how upset and hurt she is, no wonder they didn’t return her call. Some people are just not comfortable with direct confrontation, hence the email, and need to be handled more diplomatically than calling them up and having a rant on the phone.

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Just Laura October 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

I’m a little confused, I suppose. *Ricky is angry with Boyfriend, and tells him this in an email. Boyfriend doesn’t respond and sends Girlfriend (OP) to do his dirty work? Or does Girlfriend take it on herself to get involved? Why can’t Boyfriend handle his own battles? I feel the OP’s frustration, but I think that the Boyfriend should have made the phone call himself. Perhaps they might have called back, rather than deal through a 3rd party.

I also agree with ellesee above in that if Ricky is the captain, he would boss him around on the diamond. And we don’t know the mistake. Did Boyfriend show up drunk? Did he miss a game without calling? Did he forget his uniform?

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spartiechic October 25, 2011 at 10:10 am

I have to admit, I’m left scratching my head with this one. Was Ricky the manager/coach of the team? If he was, then perhaps he was trying to coach and they took his directions as a personal attack (I’ve seen it happen more than once between friends who suddenly get thrust into a different role). Going further with this scenario…perhaps he had to cut the BF because he didn’t fit well with the team. However, that does not excuse cutting someone via email. My own BF used to coach slo-pitch and he only cut people after he had discussed it with them via a telephone or in-person conversation.

Without more information, I’m not sure what actually happened and if it really constitutes a breach of etiquette. Did Ricky cut off the friendship or just cut BF from the team? If he did the latter, did that just insult them enough to want to end the friendship?

It does sound like Ricky did try to tell them at one point that they felt the friendship was becomming a little one sided. “Ricky mentioned once that they feel they were the ones to ask us to do something, and that was it.” How did OP respond to this? Did you brush it aside or did you address it? If you didn’t address it, that could build some resentment on Ricky’s part and make it less likely to bring up their feelings again in the future.

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Katie October 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

I understand that you feel your boyfriend was treated poorly and unprofessionally – however in the same context, how professional of you was it to read his email and ring Ricky yourself, when at that point I don’t think it had anything to do with you? Surely it was for your boyfriend to sort out directly with Ricky, rather than for his girlfriend to fight his battles for him?
It was certainly your perrogative to resign in protest at your boyfriend’s treatment, but it was hardly your place to phone and involve yourself.
(If I have misunderstood and the email was to the OP herself directly, then I apologise and please ignore the above!)

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Aje October 25, 2011 at 10:51 am

Agree with ellesee! Handle things face to face but tell us more details!

Unless the reason you´re not saying the details is because it would be impolite to post. In that case you´re being quite proper

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Tara October 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

Sounds like there is more to the story. But why OP did you call Ricky instead of your boyfriend? Couldn’t he have handled it on his own?

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Dear! October 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

Ok……Am I the only one that found that story a bit confusing. The mistake was never listed. The issues that Ricky was secretly holding on to was not listed, either.

I agree that issues should be handled face to face, but this is an issue between Ricky and the OP’s boyfriend about a baseball game. This had nothing to do with the OP or Ricky’s GF, and the OP got involved in something between two friends and then escalated the situation. The OP also never lists how Ricky and his GF treated her and her BF so poorly, yet she is ready to cut all ties.

I take it that all mentioned are young based on the video game reference and the ‘I’m not going to play with you anymore’ mentality….I sure do hope these are very young people.

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Bint October 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

Er…why exactly are you contacting Ricky about an email he sent your boyfriend, not you? How does Sandy come into this at all? How does Ricky kicking out your boyfriend suggest that ‘they’ have issues with you plural and why would *you* ask ‘them’ to call you back? And come to think of it, how can you passive-aggressively boss someone around?

Unless I’m missing something you haven’t mentioned, I don’t understand why you’re involved in this. It honestly reads as though this was between Ricky and your boyfriend, and you’ve widened it to include yourself and Sandy where you really oughtn’t. If you don’t want to see them again because of this then that’s up to you, but what does your boyfriend think? Wasn’t he embarrassed that you’d rung Ricky and Sandy about it? Did he ask you to?

I’m sorry for all the questions but if I’d phoned someone to discuss an issue they had with my husband, however peculiar it was, my husband would not be pleased and I wouldn’t expect the friend to ring me back either. I’m fairly sure you didn’t get a response to your phone call because Ricky thought it was none of your business.

I’m just confused why you would take this on yourself. It’s up to your boyfriend to handle it if he wants to. It’s great you’re supportive but ringing the man up to discuss it and including his fiancee in your view of it really does seem to be going too far.

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Hemi Halliwell October 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

I think there is more to this story. Surely, one mistake on a baseball team would not be grounds to get kicked off the team.
As the way our world communicates becomes more and more electronic (email, texting, social media) dismissing/kicking off teammates, firing people and even breaking up with people will become electronic. I’m sure many people have already been broken up with or fired via some form of electronic communications.
Since you have tried to contact them and they would not return your call, they obviously will not spend much time mourning the friendship you had. If Ricky & Sandy do not care to socialize with you anymore, try to move on. Maybe in a few weeks or so, the real reason behind the dismissal will come out.

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Ashley October 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

I feel like there is very much more to this story…and that’s all I really can say. Some stories on here are really cut and dried, and it’s pretty obvious who is at fault, but in this case, one persons idea of “Bossing someone around” may be different than someone elses. And there may not even have been any long standing issues, he may just have been REALLY serious about softball…

All I know here is that there isn’t enough info to make an informed decision in either direction.

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AS October 25, 2011 at 11:49 am

Here is another story that evidently has a lot of back story to it.

IMO, e-mails can be just as professional as talking directly can be. Additionally, e-mails leave a paper trail, in case it ever gets necessary. It is also a good way to get some point across to some people who are not good listeners and/or can flip off if someone says anything against them. I don’t think we can judge either of them by OP’s story.

What I don’t understand is that why should OP leave a message on behalf of her boyfriend? As far as I get from this submission, Ricky e-mailed OP’s boyfriend. OP has the right to resign from the team to show solidarity with her BF if she so pleases. But I think it is immature for her to call up Ricky on behalf of her boyfriend. Even if Ricky was wrong, he does not owe an explanation to OP for something he did to her boyfriend; and unless Sandy was directly involved more than just being Ricky’s fiancé, she does not owe an explanation to either of them.

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Calliope October 25, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I agree with ellesee and AS. There must be more to this story, because I don’t see what was so “unprofessional” about Ricky sending the OP’s boyfriend an email, and I’d like to know what the boyfriend’s reaction is, and why he didn’t contact Ricky himself. I’m also curious as to how the email made it clear that Ricky had long-standing issues with the boyfriend; did he specifically say so, or is this just the OP’s interpretation of the tone of his writing?

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sv October 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I think I’d need a lot more info to be able to comment on this post.

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Snowy October 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I would really like more details, including Ricky’s side of the story. This sound like a recounting you tell a friend you want to back you up, leaving out a lot of facts that might not make them rush to do so.

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Serenity S October 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I would like to know what the ‘long standing issues’ that Ricky had with the OP’s boyfriend were. I am sure there was more than just one mistake that ended this friendship. Apparently, Sandy and Ricky did not consider the OP and her boyfriend to be as close of friends as they thought, or the mistake was really bad. I am not sure if sending an e-mail was rude or not, I suppose it would have depended on how well OP’s boyfriend could handle conflict, perhaps Ricky was afraid of his reaction. It does seem like it would be common courtesy to ‘fire’ someone face to face. I also do not understand why Sandy was blamed for this as well. I think OP blaming Sandy was wrong, but choosing to quit the team to support her boyfriend was fine. But she should have said it was because of Ricky’s poor treatment of her boyfriend in the post. She doesn’t mention where Sandy ever did anything.

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Calli Arcale October 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

E-mails can definitely be professional, but if as the OP says this was the first indication of a problem, then there is something seriously wrong with how Ricky is handling his players. You don’t drop a player from your roster *before* attempting to address a problem, and certainly not over isolated incidents. It doesn’t really matter how the firing was delivered; e-mail, phone, or snail-mail, it’s still unprofessional to drop a player without any attempt to address the problem first. There’s got to be something else going on, and if he dropped the player for personal reasons, that’s also unprofessional — and probably more relevant to whether or not to continue the friendship.

Sandy doesn’t owe an explanation — she is not Ricky’s keeper. But Ricky does owe an explanation. Without one, it may not be possible to mend the friendship with him. I had a friend who abruptly stepped out of my life in similar fashion (albeit verbally, not by e-mail), and I never understood what the problem was that she had with me, because she said nothing up until the very end, and what she did say at the end was a) vague and b) nonsensical. She never gave a proper explanation, and it was devastating.

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Kat October 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

It’s difficult to form an opinion without knowing more. Most particularly, what did Ricky claim the OP’s boyfriend did?

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Twik October 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Ricky was “unprofessional”? Has slo-pitch gone pro now?

Like others, I think that there’s a lot of information we’d need to know before we can fairly judge. It sounds like the OP is steaming angry right now, and it’s hard to tell if she’s blowing something out of proportion, or is completely justified. Is the “one mistake” that BF forgot the infield fly rule, or did he moon the umpire?

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livvy17 October 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and share my (very possibly wrong) interpretation based on the little information portrayed here, and some assumptions I’m making, based on what was said.

Ricky was the coach. (who else could kick someone off the team?)
Either Ricky isn’t a terribly aggressive or clear coach, or OP boyfriend doesn’t listen. (OP calls this p-a bossing around, reason for getting booted was poor listening)
Ricky has tried several times to get OP’s boyfriend to listen to his coaching, but to no avail.
Decision is made to take OP boyfriend off the team, either by Ricky alone, or possibly jointly with other team members. (maybe not a good player? won’t listen to coaching?)
Ricky decides that based on the OP being on the team as well, that he’ll send an email, rather than risk a scene. (Either to preserve OP boyfriend’s privacy, or fear of either OP or OPB making a scene?)
OP decides to make this all about herself, and take personal affront, and question the entire friendship.
OP decides to turn this into her own personal battle, and tries to confront Ricky, and the poor, uninvolved Sandy.
Ricky and Sandy get frustrated, and think, “isn’t this just like her/them, always thinking of themselves, never returning invitations. Neither one of them listens!”
OP quits the team in a huff.
Ricky and Sandy start to think of this as a blessing in disguise, and decide they’re not going to deal with either of them, and good riddance.

Granted, just one possible version of events, but the tone of this post somehow just made me feel sympathetic for Ricky and Sandy.

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June October 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I’m not surprised they didn’t call back. Who wants to be yelled at?

Otherwise, I agree with the posters about wanting to know more, that the mistake might not have been little, she should have let her BF fight his own battles, etc, etc.

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grumpy_otter October 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I once had “friends” cancel a dinner invitation via email–the dinner was for 6 and the email was sent at 4:30. I was sitting there at 6:30 wondering where they were.

Email is NOT for things such as these.

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Zhoen October 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I think this is all confusing because LW is confused. Had this happen with the wife of my spouse’s friend. I’d treated her as a friend, but apparently, over years, she found my sense of humor offensive – giving me no hint. She thought I’d been making fun of her – which I hadn’t. As far as I can piece it together, when I thought she was joking, and acting silly, she was quite serious, and my laughing at what I thought was her humor, did not go down well. I’d always assumed she was much brighter than she actually was, I can only guess. But she blew up at me, in the middle of a party, coming completely out of nowhere from my perspective.

Maybe I was insensitive. Atypical of me, but sure, I accept it’s possible. But never a word from her. Until she completely lost it in front of our friends.

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Marna October 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Am I clear in thinking these are grown, adult people having a set-to over a kids’ GAME? Seriously?

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KarenK October 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

Before I decide about who’s in the wrong in this situation, like other posters before me, I need more information:

1. Is Ricky in fact the coach of the team?
2. Are there so many people on the team that they can afford to lose two? Because Ricky should have anticipated that the OP would quit in solidarity with her BF, unless that was the plan all along.
3. Why did Ricky feel that the only solution was kicking OPBF off the team?

It sounds like there might be some long-simmering resentment against the OP and her BF which may or may not be justified.

I agree with the OP that this should have been done face to face. This is not a business situation. This is a group of friends that gets together to play a game. The OP is right that using e-mail is the coward’s way out in this situation, whether or not the “firing” was justified. Also, I can’t blame the OP for taking this personally. If someone I thought was a friend did this to me, darn sure I’d take it personally.

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Enna October 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

@ Grumpy Otter – I see your point entirely, something like that needs a phone call.

@ Hemi Halliwell: it depends on how the email is phrased. There was one instance of one person putting how much she hates her work on her fb status and her boss said she was fired and he would post her P45 (UK tax from when you leave an employer) – don’t know excalty what she had said or what the background was. As for break-ups if it is long distance and calling is not an opiton then maybe but it depends how it is phased. For someone to be sacked or dumped via email they would have to have done something particualry bad, if that is not the case then I’d say the employer was being unpofessional and the “dumper” was being cruel – showing the “dumpee” is worthless and not worth bothering about.

It would be interesting to find out what bf had done wrong and why the OP is “mothering” her bf so much.

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Noph October 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Commenting more on what AS and Grumpy Otter’s comments.
E mail is no way to cancel something that is happening with in the next 24/48 hours; many people have multiple email accounts for different purposes and may not check every single account daily (or hourly for that matter).
However, emails can be very professional. The addition of email for client communications has been wonderful for my business. I can usually return an emails between meetings faster than I can return phone calls, allowing me to meet more clients’ needs in less time. The best thing about email is the paper trail, as AS pointed out.
Often when I verbally tell a client pointedly and firmly “No, the IRS frowns on that. Do not do that.”, they some how “forget” how I advised them. A year later and I’ll be faced with the same mess again with the client telling me “No one told me that I couldn’t claim my dog as a dependent.” Now I can pull out a print out of an on going email discussion with that person and remind them of what we had clearly discussed. Several guys I used to really dred seeing because everyone but them is at fault for their issues have become much easier to take care of now that I can remind myself of what we’ve discussed instead of questioning if I’m loosing my mind or if the client is bending the truth.
Like many things, it is all in how you word it, taking time to spell check (something I wish I could do for my comments here and elsewhere easily), and if your email address sounds professional. I have two email addresses, one for work stuff and one for everything else that image and reputation aren’t as important to. I can’t count how many times I’ve reviewed an otherwise excellent resume for an open position, only to be put off by seeing the email address I would reply too is something too silly or racey for an office setting (which is why I give my staff a “work” email with our co. name in the address along with a long boring legal document about what they aren’t supposed to use the account to communicate).

Sadly with some friends I’ve used email to communicate serious things in our relationship because I know that a verbal disscussion will not be productive. In one such case I knew that if I tried to speak with my friend in person, her significant other would be present and not allow her to answer (or hear) what I had to say without his input on the matter. I wanted to speak with my friend, not my friend and her boyfriend, so I shot her an email knowing she’d read it at work when he wasn’t around to influence her response. The etiquette mis step here seems, without more background, to be on the part of the OP for inserting herself into the situation. An email from her account to the coach stating her resignation, without long winded details or reasons, would have been all that was needed.

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fallishere October 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I once had a male employee that I had to let go because he just couldn’t do the work.

His wife calls me up to talk to me about it and says (and I quote) “there seems to be some miscommunication going on here.”

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Stitchin November 21, 2011 at 8:50 am

@Marna: I think the set-to is less *over* a kids’ game than it is *around* a kids’ game. Or *by* a kids’ game, as in “triggered by”. The actual problem seems to me to be that OP, Boyfriend, Ricky, and Ricky’s girlfriend Sandy, are all on the same team and have become good friends – at least as far as OP and Boyfriend know. They have all become quite close, socializing away from the game itself: they go out to dinner, they go camping, they hang out and play video games, and OP and Boyfriend have even asked to be witnesses for Ricky and Sandy at their upcoming wedding.

And then, one day, Boyfriend doesn’t do something his friend Ricky, as Coach Ricky, tells him to do during the course of … a game? A practice? We’re not quite certain, but the next thing Boyfriend knows is he gets an EMAIL from his CLOSE FRIEND throwing him off the team. In support of this apparently bizarre and arbitrary decision to dump Boyfriend, Ricky cites this ONE MISTAKE Boyfriend has made. OP reads Boyfriend’s email; I don’t think it’s out of line to suppose that Boyfriend shared the email with OP, since his first reaction was probably “What the HECK?!” and he would want to know if she had any idea what was going on. OP leaves a message with Ricky, asking for clarification of this extraordinary action, and receives no response. OP doesn’t have a clue as to the origin of this lightning bolt, and doesn’t believe that one error on the ball field warranted such an extreme decision. Upon further reflection and discussion, OP finds that Ricky once (once!) “mentioned … that they feel they were the ones to ask us to do something” “and that was it” [as far as any problems or causes for disharmony existing between the two sets of friends].

It seems, then, that Ricky and Sandy may believe that they are the ones who always initiate activities that the four of them engage in, and that they are the ones who always invite Boyfriend and OP to do things, and that Boyfriend and OP do not reciprocate. Ricky and Sandy therefore start to believe the relationship means more to them than it does to Boyfriend and OP, and they start to feel hurt/taken for granted/wronged. Since Boyfriend and OP have invited Ricky and Sandy to go camping with them, and very likely engage in other activities as well, they have no clue as to the resentment bubbling underneath. Boyfriend makes a mistake on the field one day, and Ricky sends him an email dumping him from the team. As far as Boyfriend is concerned, it’s a bolt from the blue. It’s not just any old bolt from the blue, it’s an irrational action by a close friend, done in the most hurtful way possible, without any kind of reasonable justification. OP also tries to find out the cause for this decision (seriously? over ONE mistake?), and gets no response from either of their good friends. After discussion, the best they can figure is that Ricky has made his choice not because it’s in the team’s best interest, but because his own feelings are hurt over something that has mattered enough to ban Boyfriend. As OP sees it, Too bad the friendship didn’t matter enough to Ricky to bring up this Big Hurtful Problem so it could be resolved before it blew up like a rusty nuke. OP quits the team, not because she is a sulky teenager, but out of loyalty to Boyfriend, who has been really hurt by his friend’s inexplicable, unexpected action.

The truth is floating back and forth above like a dandelion seed on the wind. It’s possible that Ricky and Sandy did initiate more invitations than Boyfriend and OP; it’s not unusual for one couple to take the lead in a relationship, and this one, although it appears to have developed rapidly, simply hasn’t been in existence all that long – not long enough, say, for the number of invitations issued back and forth over a lifetime’s friendship to have balanced out. It wouldn’t be strange if, for instance, Boyfriend let his coach take the lead. He might be lazy; he might have thought he was being polite; he might have no imagination. It’s also possible that, as a result of a growing personal relationship, Boyfriend wasn’t paying as much attention to Coach Ricky on the field – perhaps treating an instruction as a suggestion; an easy mistake to make when boundaries get a little blurred, especially if Ricky tends to couch instructions AS suggestions. After all, OP and Boyfriend haven’t heard anything that made them aware there were any growing or unresolved problems between the two couples. It appears as if Ricky’s way of dealing with conflict is to simmer and simmer until he boils over, and Boyfriend has no clue until he gets scalded. If Boyfriend isn’t good at picking up on subtext, as far as he knows, he got dumped out of the blue by a close friend for no good reason at all. OP, who is on the team herself as well as socializing outside the team with Ricky and Sandy, hasn’t picked up the subtext either. Nor, apparently, did Sandy say or do anything that might have helped clarify Ricky’s growing dissatisfaction, or actually even helped resolve it (heaven forfend).

Etiquette issues? At least a couple:
Don’t simmer until you boil over and scald your friends. Don’t “hint” about a problem, or be so subtle (“polite”) in referring to it that your friend has no idea a problem exists. Give your friends a chance to resolve the problem before it destroys the friendship.

Corollary: Don’t expect them to be able to read your mind, or to automatically know why you’re upset if you haven’t told them why (or even IF you’re upset).

Treat people with the respect due: off-duty, you may be the best of buddies, but on the field, your buddy is the Coach (Sheriff, Professor, Doctor, etc.), and may very well be in a position of authority over you. Friendship does not negate that authority.

If you badly hurt (or grossly insult) one member of a couple, don’t be too awfully surprised if the other person doesn’t want to spend much time with you after that.

Disclaimer: I don’t know that I figured out what was going on amongst OP, Boyfriend, Rick and Sandy; I think perhaps none of them has really learned how to communicate effectively yet. If I’ve made some good guesses, I hope that some of the above might give OP and the others a start to working out their problems – or at least help clear things up a little for OP and Boyfriend.

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