Wednesday, September 24, 2008

i am not universal

I've never been one of those people who "everyone just likes." And honestly (said with a slightly ashamed face)... I've never really been one of those people who naturally just "likes everyone."

I'm not going to sit and rant about how people do this or people do that or I hate it when people always... because I am well aware that I own the vast majority of responsibility when it comes to both sides of this issue. The way we treat and respond to the people around us has a great deal to do with whether we are liked or whether we like others. (I know that I can't control how they treat and respond to me, which is why I'll never hold out for universal appeal).

I've had a few relationships in my life that started out fairly rocky. People with whom I thought I had nothing in common and would not get along well with - or others that I knew (or thought I knew) and with whom I did not even want to be friends... and I have often been proved wrong. Very wrong. And honestly - I love it when that happens. And it's always the result of someone reaching out and taking a risk.

Sometimes the risk is minimal - just a friendly gesture to a person with whom you're not sure you'd get along... and you find that you can talk easily and find a great deal of support and encouragement in a new friend.

Sometimes the risk is terrifying - putting yourself out there and having a tough conversation that shines a big, bright spotlight on the elephant in the corner... and you find that the elephant is just as scared of you as you are of it, and that it just really would love to be your friend.

The thing is - it's always hard to work up to having that tough conversation... and (again, said with a slightly ashamed face) tough to figure out if the risk is worth the potential benefit. Because even though it could turn out beautifully and result in a rewarding new friendship... it could make a just slightly rocky relationship completely crumble into tiny little gravelly bits.

I'm not the easiest person to get to know, initially. I've been told I can be fairly guarded and stand-offish (probably doesn't seem that way on my blog, but this is a weirdly safe place for me to be myself) - and that's usually the case when I don't feel as though I can trust someone with myself. I've been burned by friends before, after over-zealous dive-right-into-being-friends personal sharing... and I'm fairly hesitant to do it again. Especially with people I know relatively well who have never truly put me at ease.

The thing is - I don't think this habit (or whatever you want to call it) is particularly God-pleasing... and I'd like to work on it. I just don't know how to start.

Can anyone out there relate?

2 thoughts:

his wife, their mama said...

I swear this blog could have been written about me! I've struggled with this for most of my adulthood (oddly enough, I was completely opposite in high school). This is definitely not a good trait to have in general, but especially being an Army wife. I've yet to find a good way to work past this, but have recently started attending a Military Bible Study hoping that being surrounded by Godly women who can understand what I'm going through will allow me to feel safe enough to be vulnerable and open up. I tell ya', the night before it started I was so sick to my stomach but I went, and survived. Where, aside from this blog, do you feel safe? Maybe it's among other mothers, or someone else who you share an interest. If you do find an easy way to work through this, please let me know. All I've been able to figure out is to just dive in to the situation that makes me so nervous I want to puke, and pray that God will lead me through it.

Leighton @ My Best Investments said...

Yes, can definitely relate. But I haven't yet figured out the "working on it" part for myself.