Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wolfpack Theory of Male Relationships

The first time I noticed a wolfpack was when I was 16.  I met Chris Vassel in acapella choir, and later when his friends Jason Staples and Nick Miller joined the choir (because they heard there were cute girls), I became lunch-table friends with them, too.  The fourth member, Topher Affleck, was known by all of the choir girls, considering he made Madrigals as a Sophomore. 

The thing about a wolfpack, though, is that it can be hard to spot within the walls of high school.  Sure, they probably have some classes together and sit at the same lunch table.  But with girlfriends and other friends milling around, the boundaries may be hard to spot.  But on a typical school day, when that final bell rings, the wolfpacks will head straight to their dens.

For that first wolfpack, the den was Nick Miller's game room.  While Topher played "Legend of Zelda" on the left-most TV screen, Jason watched Simpsons reruns on the center screen, and Nick and Chris would have some old-school game going on the Super Nintendo.  I found their tight-knit friendship interesting and felt, as I ended up dating Nick, that I was in reality dating them all.

I didn't realize until later that this 4 to 5 guy wolfpack is really a pretty common occurrence.  When I met Kirk, his childhood stories were full of tales of his own pack.  (Kirk, his brother Mark, Spencer, Joe, and James.)  During Oklahoma, I met some guys currently in high school and was quickly able to identify the members of their packs, and - being the mom of 3 potential wolfpack members - I started to really think about my theory.

Here's what I discovered.  Guys tend to make friendships of conveniece.  I think it goes basically like this: "Whose houses can I walk to from my house?"  And those four to five guys become best friends.  And then, because guys don't fight and hold grudges like girls do, there's never any reason for them to STOP being friends.  So unless they move, they are friends with the same guys from elementary through high school.

Not so for girls. 

Girls tend more towards a "best friend," and for many, that "best friend" changes every few years.  Girls choose their friends based on compatibility an interests, and - because of fights or just growing apart - choose new friends when necessary.

The only sad thing I've noticed is that, because the wolfpack is a friendship of convenience, it doesn't often last past high school. Sure, the friends keep in touch, but the bond doesn't seem to be as emotionally strong as that of a girl with her "best friend." Kirk's pack disbanded long ago, and the Nick/Topher/Chris/Jason pack - although still loosely bound - is definitely not the 4-for-the-price-of-1 group they once were.

The funniest thing for me is that I can already see Adam forming a bit of a wolfpack.  He may be too young for this to be the one that sticks, but I can easily see the kids he's friends with now being the groomsmen at his wedding.  It makes me grateful as a mom to live in a neighborhood full of active LDS families so the chances of Adam's wolfpack being a good influence are higher.

Kirk thinks Alex will be accepted as a member of Adam's pack.  I think he is kind of hoping for that since he and his brother were in the same pack.  I'm just hoping for our house to be the den, so I can keep a close eye on my little wolves.  Trust me, I'm taking notes from Nick's mom since she so successfully created an enviroment where the pack felt welcome. 

Video games - Check
Space where the boys can hang out - Check
Trampoline and basketball hoop (ideally right next to each other) - Someday...
Snacks - Yeah, I'm saving up


Shalise & Jason Staples said...

Your 'pack' theory is instesting and probably correct for the most part. However I wouldn't say that our friendship happened out of 'convenience'. Especially since there was several others around that we could have spent our time with that lived just as close. Since we were all very opinionated, we only spent time with people that we wanted to hang out with. That, and two of the four of us were less concerned about being popular and having tons of friends. I'd say that we were friends because we wanted to be, rather than out of 'convenience'. I'd say that we are still friends. But having families changes things. Also each of us living in a different State has made thing a little harder to stay in touch; and we aren't the type to gab on the phone like women :).


Logan Gifford said...

I can't help but laughing at this post today since I can practically quote it from hearing it last night! :)