Trust your instincts, but don’t miss out on good people!
I’m reading my latest copy of Reader’s Digest again and found a part of an article that really spoke to me. (As often happens because there is so much to learn from the experiences and wisdom of others!) This was an article called “The Man With Perfect Manners.” It looks very similar to the author Paul Ford’s post online, although it isn’t exactly the same.
Even though the article and post are about etiquette, it was a different aspect of the article that made me think. To quote: “Politeness leaves doors open. I’ve met so many people whom, if I had trusted my first impressions, I would never have wanted to meet again. Yet many of them are now great friends.”
As I’ve mentioned before, I am divorced from a sociopath. Before I realized what he was, I saw many warning signs, but ignored them because they didn’t seem reasonable in light of the words he was telling me when he was flattering me. I know wish I had paid attention. There is truly safety and wisdom in trusting your instincts! But here this article gave me reason to reconsider relying on first impressions. I guess it’s safe to say if you sense a predator, trust those instincts, but if you simply don’t feel a connection, stay open-minded? Maybe that is a good line to draw between the two extremes.
Anyway, predators aside, Ford offers good advice. I have some good friends that I initially did not like. One of them, I’ve been friends with for 25 years now, and another was my closest friend through high school and for many years. I know people who’ve met their spouse and been unimpressed, yet met them again later and fell in love. (In fact, the author of the article has the same story.) He points out that we shouldn’t discount someone just because they are having an off day.
One reason I take this personally is because I was a downer for a long time after escaping my ex-abuser. Even my friends got sick of me. When I’m not depressed and in shock, I’m a fun/funny and interesting person, (or at least some people would say!) I’d hate it if I met a potential friend or date who is a great choice for me, but they avoided me because the better version of me wasn’t showing that day. And, I’d be sorry to miss out on a great friend just because I met them on one of their bad days. There are so many experiences in life, that it’s hard to set a specific rule that works for all situations. Do I trust my instincts or do I give a second chance? There are good reasons for both choices, but I really want to be careful about weeding out the safe people and more astute about weeding out the dangerous people in the future. It’s something to think about…