Jim Morrison, of The Doors, couldn’t have said it more accurately.
…PEOPLE ARE STRANGE…
I have always considered myself to be a spot on judge of character. Others that know me pretty well have often said the same of me. It’s something that I simply can’t explain. Upon meeting someone, within the first few minutes I get a sense of the kind of person they are. I know I am not perfect and can’t always be right. Believe me, I have sure made a few poor judgement calls over the years, especially in my younger days. Some of those indiscretions I attribute to being young and naive, when I just simply didn’t know any better.
Do you think I am judgemental???
I think not. I take all things into consideration when meeting someone for the first time. Eye contact, the handshake, personality, tone of voice, conversation, overall first impression… then I wrap it up into a ball along with the ever trusty “GUT” INSTINCT. I deem the person sincere, nice, space-cadet, hard-working, determined, shady, friendly, or the opposite of any of these just the same…you get my drift….
I AM NOT JUDGEMENTAL. 98% of the time this gut instinct of mine is SPOT ON CORRECT. After time has passed, and I have truly been given the opportunity to get to “know” a person my original take on the person is A-OKAY. I consider myself to be a fair, level-headed, trustworthy individual. I am caring and respectful. I am willing to give anyone a fair shot…but SERIOUSLY, I go with the gut and the gut doesn’t fail too often at all.
How does it work???
I wish I knew. I can’t describe it. I’ve seen other people who have this same knack for knowing who a person is or what kind of person they are without truly knowing them. It’s a crazy, sometimes scary thing. Something I have learned is to take the gut instinct with a grain of salt. A few years back, I would let my initial reaction/impression of a person form my complete opinion of them. Realizing in retrospect that this may not have been the best way to make connections with individuals. I have at times put aside any “negative,” for lack of a better word, reactions and truly given my all in taking an individual for more than what my first impression of them was. HOWEVER, 98% of the time individuals have done none other than prove my “negative” initial reaction CORRECT. Whether it be trustworthiness, work ethic, friendliness… I find myself thinking, why didn’t I go with my gut instinct?
Some consider me to be shy; others backwards; others still silly or rude; quiet even. Upon becoming friends with some of the BEST people I could ever have hoped for myself at Edinboro, some of them shared with me their first impressions of myself. Some were very much undesirable. I never have thought myself to be an overall rude person. Upon further discussion, what my friends mistook as being rude, was some of my shyness. Having just met me, how were they to know. Any of those friends or “newer” friends can tell you that I am anything but quiet. Quite the chatter box in actuality….
I, likewise had incorrect first impressions of some of my best friends at Edinboro. I was quickly proven otherwise as we quickly got to know each other and learn the ins and outs of our lives. These experiences have taught me nothing other than it’s ok to have your initial reactions to individuals, but give them a chance to prove themselves otherwise. One particular friend… I got the impression that she was stuck-up, rude and “better” than me. After getting to know her, she was/is strong and confident, fun and friendly, caring and sensitive. First impressions aren’t always as they seem. We had a TON of fun together during our years at the Boro. She taught me to roll with the punches…why? …tomorrow is another day.
Not judging a book by its cover…
This chica will know who she is for sure without me mentioning any names…Freshman year, Towers Lobby, probably 3 AM or later…I encountered a rough around the edges, petite, energetic, pip of a dirty blonde who may have had some pink in her hair at that time. The conversation that ensued was not your ordinary introductory conversation. She was totally the opposite of ANYone I had ever been friends with appearance-wise. But there was just something about this girl that immediately I knew we’d get along and be friends. The “gut” instinct told me this girl was pretty cool, genuine, caring, fun and CrAzY. 15 years and many miles between us after that random early morning meeting filled with smoking cigarettes and crazy conversation, I can proudly say that she is one of my best and truest friends. I found a good soul in that person and am thankful that I didn’t judge the book by its cover. I read her spot on without a second thought.
The point of it all….
What is the point you may be asking? Well, here’s the thing. You may meet me, and gather your own opinion of me. That’s great. I encourage you to go with your gut. I have worked very hard over the years to make sure I present the image I have of myself and want others to see during the day-to-day. The image you portray of yourself in this world is influenced by so many things. Make a conscious effort to carry your self in a way that would make you proud.
The Let DOWN…
There are times when I am PLEASANTLY surprised by an individual. When the gut has led me astray and proven me COMPLETELY wrong. I actually LOVE it if my less than positive first impression/gut reaction of a person is proven incorrect. Sadly though, this isn’t the norm. There have been very few instances when my first reaction of insincerity, rudeness, etc. has been changed. Most often these people did truly show their true colors from the get go. Don’t get me wrong, people can surprise you…in my experience, it’s not in the way you’d most like.
DO you know how it feels?
The portion of the population that I find entirely all too frustrating and unnerving …The people who flat-out had you fooled. I’m talking about the individuals that falsely presented themselves to you in a positive, sincere manner. The ones that you eventually find out were not honest and pulled one over on you. They talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk. It’s happened with friends, ex-boyfriends and many, many others at various stages in my life. To these people I no longer give my respect. Someone that falsely represents themselves is no good in my book. fair weather friends or people who change overnight. When you think you know a person and they pull the rug out from under you. It hurts when you think you know someone; when you trust them at their word and then they act differently. I’ve always been reminded by close family members and true friends that actions speak louder than words. You really don’t understand how true that is until you personally are involved in a situation that presents itself to you. You feel like you’ve been slapped in the face.
Even more frustrating still are the people that you JUST CAN’T FIGURE OUT. The ones that you think you’ve got pinned down and then they throw you for a loop. They go back and forth and are completely unreadable. I am very thankful that I am not surrounded by too many people of this nature. Again, some of this comes with age. When I was younger, I took everything people did and said and held them to it. I have learned that some people will tell you what you want to hear so that they get what they want or need. I personally pride myself in speaking the truth and speaking my mind…something I was not always able or confident enough to do. Others, will tell you what they want to get what they want…Then they show their true colors and expose themselves for what they really are.
One of my favorite Phish songs, Waste, reminds me that if I am going to spend (waste) my time with you then you have proven yourself to be worthy of my time, worthy of my friendship, worthy of me giving a part of myself to you. If you give me the same in return…if you value me, my time, my generosity, all that makes me who I am then I will waste my time with you. If you cannot be honest, sincere, and trustworthy, please don’t waste my time. yes, that sounds harsh, but seriously…do you want to waste your time on someone who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are or the talents you have or dreams you dream? Respect yourself enough to know the difference. It’s taken me a long time to truly understand and accept this…Am I still open for disappointment? ABSOLUTELY. Do I still end up “wasting” time on people who don’t necessarily deserve it…unfortunately yes. I do want to give people the benefit of the doubt time and time again, but the gut truly doesn’t lead me astray too often.
We live in a crazy world, influenced by many, many things. Somethings are out of our control while others are SOLEY in our control leaving no one to blame but ourselves. I know portions of this posting may sound harsh, but reality is…things aren’t always as they seem. People let you down, yet others surprise you in ways you never thought possible.
Reality is…you live and you learn. People ARE strange. Some you can figure out. Others you can spend your entire life to figure out. Others still will amaze you in both good and bad ways…sending you for loops, swoops and pulls all around the place.
There are good people out there…ALOT of them. Surround yourself with them. Truly genuine people are keepers…Be aware of how you present yourself to the world. People ARE watching, waiting and listening. Be proud of the person you are.
Don’t judge a book by its cover…the pages you find inside tell the story…You are the author of your own story…make it a good one; One that will have people walking away in amazement. Trust in your heart, not always the “gut.” You may very well be surprised…one way or another…