Recently, in the process of exiting a local retail store, I happened to run into an old acquaintance and we spent several minutes chatting up occurrences each of us had experienced since our last encounter. While conversing with my old friend another individual walked over to speak and briefly engaged in conversation.
After the second person left, the gentleman with whom I’d initially been talking voiced disliking him. It threw me for a minute as I was aware the two men didn’t know one another and wondered how such a negative assessment could be made. When asked he simply stated, “The way the guy just came over and started talking; I simply don’t like him.”
Once leaving the company of the person at the store, I engaged in serious thought about the entire incident only to reason that’s an issue with which many of us suffer. Social order has “taught” that we have to, within the first few minutes of meeting a person, decide whether or not they are likeable and thusly, a possible candidate for friendship.
In many cases, we run into people at the market or gas station and might not see them again for months on end, if ever. This raises the question: Why is it necessary to decide whether you like or dislike a person based upon a single encounter? In all probability, if you’ve never seen or spoken to an individual before the chance of frequent encounters is very rare. Why then would it be necessary to spend ample time allowing thoughts of a complete stranger to marinate; occupying the precious space between your ears? In truth, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever cross paths again and the person definitely won’t be seeking your consultation concerning important decisions regarding their life choices.
My opinion is that we, as people, spend too much time worried about things we can’t control and too little time concerned about the things we can. Simply put; if a person has no significant bearing on any important aspect of your life, what difference does it make whether or not they like you or vice versa? What really matters is the simple issue of respect for others and carrying oneself in such a manner as to warrant the same from them.
None of us are the beneficial recipients of three hundred sixty-five and a quarter good days in a twelve month period. That said, there is the remote possibility your one chance encounter with a person might be on the only day during the entire year when they’ve had to deal with everything that could feasibly go wrong. Maybe the person is having issues on his or her job, experiencing difficulties with the kids, problems with a spouse, or worse.
One of the most traumatic things with which I’ve ever had to contend occurred January 16th of 2013 at 8:05 pm. That was the moment, sadly, that the Lord chose to call our mother home and none of my siblings or I have been the same since. If, by chance, a person would have run across me during the time of mom’s lengthy hospital stay and the several months following her funeral service they would have appropriately determined I was not a very likeable person. Even now, years later, to dwell on the topic too long can have me become quite despondent and outright ugly as it’s doubtful I’ll ever come to terms with the matter.
It’s true that we all handle situations differently so there is no way for us to know what a person is going through at the given moment we meet them the first time…or any time for that matter. Unless we are willing to sincerely invest the time and effort necessary to truly get to know a person (as much as they will allow) it simply isn’t possible to make an accurate assessment of qualifications to substantiate a potentially long-term association.
Relationships, platonic or otherwise, take time just like any good investment but the first thing to be done is the completion of your due diligence. Before investing in anything; be it stocks, a job, higher education, or a person, it is a wise idea to spend time researching the subject of your investment.
There have been many occasions when decisions made prematurely proved to be wrong at best. In most cases these choices have dire consequences and usually end up costing much more than we’re willing to sacrifice. Especially when it comes to friendships, I think it better to make a decision to remain indecisive until all pertinent factors are considered. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.