Have you noticed how people fall in two broad categories: those individuals who share themselves after careful consideration and those who come to us totally unfiltered? Bradley, a longtime friend, belongs in the first category. I definitely fall in the second.
Bradley and I worked for the University of Wisconsin back in the 1980s. He was a popular and successful Dean at one of the branch campuses and I worked for the central administration, floating from campus to campus, attempting to extinguish little political and administrative fires.
I don’t recall Bradley ever making an impetuous decision. Nor did he make mistakes. He gained a reputation for his consistency, fairness and clarity of communication. Everyone counted on Bradley because he measured each step before he took it. His personal relationships were administered with the same patience and precision. After 30 years of friendship, Bradley has yet to apologize to me for anything, because he’s done nothing to apologize for. There’s a piece of me that wants to make something up to stick on him but I can’t do it because he’s just too nice of a guy.
Bradley tells me I’m one of his best friends because he never knows what to expect from me. I’m as unpredictable and unfiltered as they come. If life were a deck of cards, Bradley’s would appear with suits and numbers lined up perfectly in rows while my deck would be haphazardly spread on the table with wild cards and two Jack of Clubs.
There are things I have said and done to Bradley that I have needed to go back to fix and seek forgiveness for. He’s also gotten me out of a bind or two, for which I am most grateful. At the same time, Bradley tells me his most memorable and joyous moments have occurred on adventures with me and opportunities have come his way as a result of my spontaneous, emotionally driven style.
Bradley accepts me as is and I accept him–no guilt trips, overexplanations or cover-ups. Life can be grand when delivered filtered or unfiltered. I think the key to a fulfilling life is to recognize which filtration system works best for you and support the contrasting systems of others.