DEAR TILLMAN: My friends and I – three guys and three girls – were in my dorm room watching a movie on a Saturday night. The movie started a little after 10 p.m. so right at midnight, it was just getting to the climax of the film. Unfortunately, I, in fear of risking an open house hours fine for me and my friends, promptly paused the movie, and kicked my friends out. I was met with no small amount of resistance in this matter. “Are you serious!? We will only be like 15 minutes past midnight, just let us finish!” one said. “Why are you so scared of open house hours anyway? I get away with breaking them all the time. We’ll just sneak out when no one is looking,” said another. However, it was not their words, but the disappointment in me that I saw on their faces as they turned and walked out that hurt me the most.
I feared that my actions would cause a lot of unwanted hostility towards me from my friends. And sure enough, this past week, they have excluded me from their group events, and have been for the most part, avoiding me. What can I do to mend these relationships? And how could I have handled this situation better? – FRIENDLESS STUDENT
DEAR STUDENT: It seems that you have been placed right in the middle of a rather large pickle. On the one hand, wanting to save yourself from an open house hour fine is a more than valid reasoning for giving your friends the boot, and I admire your bold action in the situation. A $50 fine that doubles with every repeated offense is nothing to canoodle with. On the other hand, friends are wonderful things to have, for it’s not what you know, but who you know. Perhaps I can suggest how to eat your way out of this pickle, keeping both you friends and your money.
If someone told me when I founded the great institution of Hesston College that students would start breaking open house hours, I would respond by saying, “What are women doing in the men’s dorms!?” And if you told me that those same students are watching television shows on Netflix past open house hours, I’d probably say, “What in the Sam Hill is a Television!?”
Despite my lack of knowledge in modern trinkets, I can say with more than a certain amount of confidence that the best option when watching a movie late at night is to watch it in any lounge free of open house hours.
By doing so, all the fear of being fined is removed and you can more thoroughly enjoy your picture show. Just be sure to leave room for Jesus.
Now let us discuss your friends. It seems like any group of friends who could hold a week long grudge over being told to leave a room are not as friendly as you thought, and quite frankly, shallower than a desert puddle. I tell you what, the amount of youthful idealism students have these days makes me want to puke. Although I must admit that your friends remind me of when I was young and clueless. In any case, a sincere apology for your abrupt dismissal is just about the best thing you can do. It will place the ball “In their court” as you young people say. From that point on, it’s up to them whether or not they will forgive you.