Has your initial perception of someone ever been clouded, or even enhanced, by the circumstances in which you meet? I’m not talking about a Keanu Reeves – Sandra Bullock Speed moment of meeting. Rather, I’m talking about we real-world people and the acquaintances we make.
In recent weeks, I have had two very distinct experiences that have each given me pause for ponder.
1. I was introduced to a man at a charitable volunteering function, where we were both working. Statesman was prepped a little by my friend who made the introduction, and had the requisite background info on me. My friend painted such a picture that Statesman asked me to dinner and commenced nightly phone calls. However, Statesman’s very Democratic views levied a very intolerant and unliberal cloud on his judgment of me: I am too conservative [to date].
Point to be had: if we were introduced on the Senate floor, he would never have ventured down the dinner path because the differences in politics would have satisfied his intolerance up front. But, because we were both giving our time to a charitable event, suddenly my Republicanism was less offensive (at the outset).
2. Last summer I ventured into Match.comland for a brief, albeit entertaining, period. Nearly one year later, I was recently prompted by Facebook to become friends (despite no mutual acquaintances) with one of the Match men who had chatted me up. I made the connection & sent a random note, only to learn Matchman does have mutual friends with me (just not via Facebook). Suddenly, getting to know him doesn’t seem so obtrusive or forced. It seems quite natural and almost fun. And where I might not have accepted a Match-orchestrated date before, a Facebook-connected encounter doesn’t feel so awkward.
Point to be had: the different setting casts a different light on the same person.
This makes me sit back and think about other areas in which my perceptions may be (unnecessarily or even incorrectly) tainted. And how often do our environments play a role in the people we meet, or even the decisions we make?
You never know when the stranger who has stopped to ask a simple question may turn out to be your future father-in-law, or the lead guitarist of your favorite local band is the president of your biggest business competitor.
Retro re-post of the day: In 3 Years, None of This Will Matter.