Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Two guys or more watch the football game, friends, a father and son, or it could be husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend. Some of them really care about the game and some don't but they love the comraderie. Two girlfriends talk for an hour about nothing special, housekeeping, work, TV, even politics and nothing new or important is said; it's chitchat, but they love the comraderie. Two couples play cards and chat about anything or nothing, mostly how the game is going. It's about the connection, the enjoyment of being together, yes--the comraderie.
These situations describe the importance of process over content. A lot of times, people don't converse because they really want to debate an issue, make a decision, share experiences or advice, just because they want to feel close and connected, not alone. So, when the wife asks the husband an irrelevant question and he's irritated, he needs to remember that she's just trying to be connected. When the friend calls for no reason, there's a great reason--to feel the friendship. When the son calls mom to argue politics to no avail, it's fine because he's maintaining the relationship. When the working husband calls the wife tired with nothing to say and talks about the hotel room (boring), it's wonderful because he's reminding her that he cared enough to call.
On Superbowl Sunday, I'll be thinking about all the folks who like football and all those who really don't but participate because sports pose a fine way to be together. Cherish your connections. Comraderie rules.