Michael Jackson, Staff Writer

Ever gotten caught in that awkward situation when the friend with whom you’re walking bumps into some friends you don’t happen to know? You kind of slink to the side as your friend talks to these people about what seems to be completely worthless in comparison to the awesome trip/weekend/birthday about which you had previously been talking. Or worse, have you ever been with a friend who seems to have a perpetually vibrating phone while you’re walking with him or her? You feel so minimized that you might have a better conversation if you just walked in the other direction and texted him or her what you were thinking. In honor of these situations I’ve created of a list of are “you stupids. . .?” Then I’ve listed out the small adjustments to the situations that include a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

First awkward situation listed above when your friend bumps into people you don’t know. You of course whip out your phone to suggest that you can keep yourself occupied while he or she blabs on about some random professor, some cute guy/girl or the weather. You know that you’re the real friend, and you should be treated as such.

If you’ve ever been the perpetrator of this uncouth behavior there are several respectful solutions so as not to offend either the friend with whom you’re walking or the people you bump into.

1) Ask the friend with whom you’re walking if it’s okay to briefly stop to talk. 2) If he or she seems uncomfortable limit your encounter to a hello or “I’ll call you (text you) later.” 3) If you do stop to talk, LIMIT it to 1 minute because no friend wants to stand there and feel neglected. 4) Always introduce your friend to the people you’ve just bumped into. It’s a sign that you recognize you’ve interrupted your original conversation and you value the time of all involved.

The second situation involves a friend who is upset at you because of something you did or said, or at least he or she is upset because of some perceived grievance against you. Nothing bothers me more than when a friend texts me that he or she is upset at me and unloads via text message. Texting is a great tool, but there is no way you can read body language or sentiment in a text. This is especially problematic when one of you reads far more into a message than he should. If you enjoy making messes of your day then start a texting conversation with a friend at whom you are upset. You’ll both get more fiery by the minute and likely end up with carpal tunnel syndrome.  Are you stupid?

There are quite a few respectful ways to deal with this situation, and the most obvious of these I’ve listed first.

1) Resist the urge to text something stupid! 2) Simply text that you would like to talk about something that is bothering you, and you would like the friend’s help. 3) Do not be accusatory or text anything that could be misconstrued. 4) Offer times to meet with the friend with whom you’re upset, and go out of your way to make it happen. 5)Resist the urge to text something stupid!

While there is of course the obvious “don’t answer your phone while with your friend unless it’s extremely urgent,” that is not the next “are you stupid?” In the age of Facebook and Twitter it might be easy to think you really do have 20 or even 30 close friends. I think that one can reasonably have 7-10 close friends and maybe three or four very close friends. Why, you ask, do I say this? Well ask yourself how many of your friends’ birthdays you actually remember. Exactly.

What are some of the tests you should give yourself to check in on your friendship with 7-10 people? 1) Do you remember important days for them? 2) Their parents may struggle to remember your name, but do you struggle to remember their parents’ names? 3) Do you know what you do that makes them smile or that really irritates them? 4) Are you concerned for their good above all things such that you might even offer some correction or accept criticism from them? 5) What is going to happen with that friendship in your remaining years in school, and where will it go after graduation?

This article is brought to you by the hundreds of fakebook friends you have. So ask yourself the next time you’re spending quality time with good friends, and you’re tempted to do something stupid, “am I stupid?”

Michael Jackson is . . . wait, his name is Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson is excited that Coach McGraw just got her 700th career win! Contact him at mjackso7@nd.edu.