Twice in the past two days people showed their true colors and confirmed my initial suspicions about how they conduct business. I've always prided myself on being a good judge of character and my ability to read people. Lately, however, I feel I've lost that edge and I have accepted the bill of sale handed me by others about people. I should trust my instincts.
One individual is a guy I met about a year and a half ago. I had a feeling about this guy from from the get-go. Something about him told me that he was not a person of outstanding character. He was included in a group of people I spent time with and was vouched for by all of them. Reluctantly, I accepted him with full credibility. I figured I was misreading this person if everyone else could stand behind his judgment. Over time, I had sneaking suspicions that I may have been right, but without confirmation. Again I was told that I'm reading into it and to let it go. Then there was some blatantly inappropriate behavior that indirectly affected me on the personal side. He was out of my inner loop immediately. Then there was a professional issue which made me collateral damage to his inability to do what is right, have integrity, or show any semblance of a work ethic. He was out of my professional loop. As it turns out, a slew of information about choices he's made have come to light. I had him pegged from minute one. I should have stuck to my guns. He was exactly the person I thought him to be - only he took it to a whole other level of sneakiness.
I forgive a lot of people their indiscretions for two reasons. The first is that if it doesn't affect me, I'm in no place to judge. The other is that, those who know me a long time can attest to the fact that I've made my share of mistakes and then some. One thing I can't seem to overlook is when someone is a sneak. It violates my trust to the core for that person about everything. I knew it.
The other one is actually much worse. I knew a female who was a decent friend and fun whenever we had beers. Seemed attractive and sweet but there was something else that I wasn't sure about. She seemed very rigid in some ways. Her way or no way. All or none. Jump through her hoops or she wants no part. When things took a turn and we got closer as friends with a hint of romanticism, I backed away sharply. I was told over and over again by mutual friends that it's a defensive posture she sets up for herself but she's not that way. I was convinced to dig in my heels and get passed it and I'd see. I bought this load of nonsense hook, line and sinker. We dated casually. We grew closer. All of a sudden she went VFR direct from a sweet girl in my life to an overreacting maniac to which there was no reasoning. After the fact, some folks on the outskirts of the group of friends told me they saw this coming. The inner circle was agape.
If there was to be no romance, there would be time for the dust to settle and back to square one as friends. I was for it. I even stayed in basic contact with members of her family to the point that there was a long exchange with a member of her nuclear family during which I received an apology for being on the receiving side of her irrational reactions along with an explanation for the catalyst and a recommendation for going forward should we try for round two - neither of which I'll divulge out of respect for the promise I made that day.
So what happened? I checked in with her while she was in recovery from a procedure. Barely got a response. I know what you're thinking and I'll tell you that I knew she wanted no contact from a bunch of people and was getting daily updates from the person that she kept close. I approached her only after I was told that the coast was clear and she was up to being in touch again. Then things of mine she had and was due to give me the next time we hung out appeared on my desk at work. Then her and her family disappeared from Facebook. So, no friends at all. This has now created an awkward situation considering the mutual friends are still friends with both of us and, clearly, hanging out like nothing happened would be an issue.
During the brief stint while things were terrific, it was my job to provide near hourly assurance that if the bottom fell out, I would always be there and we would go back to how it was and not worse. Promises were made, promises were not kept. I know how it goes. You're friends, you date, you want to be friends again - in reality, you never are. It changes. "It doesn't have to. We won't let it." So I agreed and assured her for my part. Here we stand today. Not together, not friends, not even well enough to peacefully coexist on a social networking site with 500 million others. And to think that when she pleaded to return a minor amount of cash to me I laid out for some things, I refused because we're closer and better friends than that. I didn't get an explanation.
I knew that she wasn't someone who prepared to alter her life even an iota for someone she claimed wasn't important. I knew she was independent enough to want her way constantly and react adversely the moment she didn't get it. I saw all this coming. But in a moment of goofy guy weakness I fell for the wiles of a pretty girl. My inner ability to read people being the angel on one shoulder and my friends saying "it'll be fine, go for it" the devil on the other. Should have stuck to my instincts yet again.
The other thing I can't tolerate in addition to sneakiness, is hypocrisy. I don't expect people to do what I want or meet my expectations and I'm fully aware that, as a human, my expectations may be self-serving at times and slightly unreasonable. This is where our confidants put us in check as the voice of reason. That aside I have one expectation from people - do what you say you will. I don't expect you to call me at a certain time or come over on a particular day. But if YOU say, "Dude, I'll be at your house at 3pm sharp on Saturday" and when I call at 3:15pm to see what happend and you say, "oh I changed my mind" I'm gonna be pissed you couldn't pick up the phone like an adult and let me know. Even worse is the disappearing act. You don't have to help me out with a, b, or c, but if you promise you will, then show up and do it. YOU said you'd do it, not me. Can't do one thing and say another. Can't bitch about your weight while spitting Arby's curly fries all over me. Can't complain about how the next door neighbor gossips as part of a story you overheard through the fence from their backyard. It's one or it's the other.
To my friends who try to sway me and sell me on someone I'm a little stand-offish about... don't. It's my time to trust my gut again. It has always been a point of pride that I could read people and I've let my guard down. Maybe I'm out of the city too long. Maybe I need to be back in the corporate world to find my appropriate level of cynicism. Does jadedness fade? I understand you are trying to help but your misguided attempts make you more like The Great Gazoo of my life.
I'm sure neither one of these people will read this, nor will anyone else that can make the connection. For all I know, I'm talking to myself half the time, which is kind of a shame. I'd LOVE for either one to address this like adults. Even if they see it, they wouldn't because I have them dead to rights on how they conduct themselves. All could have been avoided if I just listened to myself.