Friday, October 30, 2009

Throwing Up All Over You

There's a saying in business when you're trying to recruit someone: Don't throw up all over them. Meaning don't throw too much information in their face all at once or they'll miss it all and just shut down.

This also seems to be the way meeting new people works. You wouldn't introduce yourself to your spouse's boss this way: "Hi, I'm Michelle, and I'm pro-choice, and I don't care if you're gay or not, and I donated a kidney, I married my ex-husband after a month of dating because I needed the money, and I live with my parents. Nice to meet you."

But why shouldn't we? Don't we think that people should like us for who we are? So why don't we tell people who we are when we first meet them? Why do we "date" first? Do we think that if we slowly ease them into our lives, they'll be more likely to accept us later on when they find out something "taboo" about us?

When I started dating after my divorce, I was coached by friends not to bring up the "whole single mom thing" on the first date. I always defended myself to them: I'm not ashamed of being a single mom, I'm not ashamed of my daughter, why should I lie/omit information? If he didn't want to date a single mom, why should I hide it? That's not fair to him, and it's not productive for me.

So are we afraid that our new friends won't like us? If they don't like us, are they really our friends? Maybe they are, if they choose to ignore that part of our lives they don't like.

Charles Kingsley said,"A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults."

But my faults may not be considered a fault by someone else, or something I consider an attribute may be a fault in someone else's mind. We never know.

I, myself, am a Christian.

And I am pro-choice: I don't think it's my place to say whether or not someone else has a choice.

And I'm pro-marriage: I think people should try to work out their differences, but if divorce needs to happen for the safety and sanity of themselves and others, so be it, and I don't think we should prohibit marriage between any two persons.

And I'm pro-life: I've donated a kidney, I donate blood whenever I can and I've put myself on the bone marrow donor list.

And I think people deserve second chances: I married my ex out of the naivete of youth and pride (I don't need to move back home just because I lost my job; I'll just marry my Marine boyfriend and we'll get the extra money to have our own place and if we end up not loving each other, we'll just get a divorce and move on...).

And I think there's nothing to be ashamed of asking for help: I moved back in with my parents after my separation and divorce in 2005. My daughter and I plan on moving out in the next year or two, but I'm proud of how my life is now: my daughter has three active parents in her life and she's learning more about relationships with people, how different people are interested in different things, and she's learned independence.

But it's not acceptable in our society to present this side of myself when I meet someone new. I'm just supposed to say, "Hi, my name is Michelle. Nice to meet you." Then we play little games while trying to figure out if we want to like this new person or not.

I think I should just get "personal cards" that state my name, contact info, and on the back list 4 or 5 qualities about myself. Then anyone I meet can choose whether or not to strike up a conversation with me. I think it'll save us all some valuable time.

1 comment:

  1. Part of the fun of meeting someone new is sifting through all those interesting details! While I think the games some folk play (particularly in the dating scene) are ridiculously absurd, I think the amount of time we spend opening up and sharing is pivotal to gaining trust. Not everyone trusts immediately, and I think that is why people don't just "vomit" on another person when they first meet them. I think it's important to be honest, but when the timing is right. I for one very often have a sense about how I might get along with a person in the future based on how comfortably we interact within the first hour (and sometimes few minutes) of meeting/hanging out, so sometimes I end up feeling very comfortable with someone I share opposite opinions with, but it turns out to be a great friendship because we are both comfortable with each other enough to talk about the differences instead of just saying, "what?? you think THAT?? Ugh!!"

    By the way, I find none of the things you've shared here "taboo," given the right context. Do you know many who might?



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