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Perception

December 20, 2009

Originally Posted at The Sweet Life: 4/16/08 8:49am

Jeremy and I were having a conversation last night about people we used to know.  And by that I mean, people we knew well at one point but have spent so much time away from, that we don’t know them anymore.  I admit that when I bump into certain people from way back, I immediately become defensive.  I feel almost like I can’t be my normal self around them because I know too much of what they didn’t like about me.  It’s OK if people don’t particularly get my brand of humor, but I don’t want to go around aggravating people, either.  You can imagine the conversation they’d have with their spouse that evening… “I ran into her today.  Yup, still annoying!  And she had some crazy stuff in her grocery cart, too.”

I wonder, if someone used to get irritated when you, say, used funny voices when telling stories, would they still get annoyed today?  Even if it was 10, 12, 15 years later?  Because yeah, I still do that.  And how appropriate is it to just come right out and ask them, now that you don’t know them anymore?  If you did, would they be honest?  Or would they remember being annoyed by that at all?  I have come to realize that not everyone remembers the minutiae of every conversation they ever had, as well as what they were wearing at the time.  And people, why can I remember all of that but not what I had for lunch yesterday? 

On the other hand, does time soften things?  I can run into former boyfriends and be glad to have seen them, even though they may have done some pretty horrible things to me in the past.  It doesn’t mean I want to see them on a daily basis, but the bad things don’t come straight out and smack me in the face.  Is it fair to assume other people have changed and matured as much as you have?  Or is it better to assume they are still the same asshat  person who thought you were nice, but boring, and pointed out the least flattering things about you so that you could work on them?  Such as, maybe, the fat ass she thought you sported when you weighed 95 pounds?

Lastly, if a person like that, from your past, were to express a desire to rekindle a friendship, is it worth pursuing?  There was a reason you stopped being friends, but there was a reason you were friends in the first place, too.  Would it be a huge hassle to change all your numbers if it didn’t work out, and would your friends spring for a fake going-away party for your fake relocation to Yemin Moshe?

Original Comment: (side note: this was the first comment I ever got from someone I didn’t know in real life! Woo!)

4/16/2008 5:41 PM Jane wrote:
Interesting post. Especially as I face my high school 25th reunion this summer and have been wondering similar. I am no longer living in that city but surely many former classmates live in the area I do. Can I see becoming close to them emotionally once more?

I rather doubt it… As you say, there was a reason we lost touch. And so much time gone under the bridge.

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