Monday, March 16, 2015

Do People See The Real You Or A Distortion?

I know what people think about me without exchanging one word with them. It's a skill I've developed my entire life. I'm not claiming psychic ability; it's something more akin to seeing a finished puzzle from just a few of the pieces, or recognizing the hidden phrase on Wheel of Fortune from just a few revealed letters.

And what people think about me is all too often just dead wrong. It's a common error: people will fill up an empty wine glass with their own favorite vintage. They look at me but see themselves, as if I'm a mirror.

People assume I think like they think, believe what they believe, like what they like, and want what they want. And if they discover a difference of opinion on any topic, they assume that it doesn't matter. They don’t mind, therefore I don’t mind. The problem with this thinking is that a lot of things matter to me that just don’t seem to matter to others who revolve in my circles.

A lot can be found out about me with a simple Google search. It's not like I'm hiding what I think. Just on this blog alone are several hundred posts from me about all sorts of things.

When people look at me, they see a distorted image, not the real person. People want to see their own fantasy. They fear reality, truth. They hope the fantasy is real, or that the reality becomes the fantasy. I'm sure it must have happened to someone at some time, but no, it hardly ever works like that.

Look at the politicians people vote into Washington, for example. Fantasy versus reality in stark contrast: What happened to the person I thought I voted for and why is he doing what I never thought he would do?

Am I to blame? People fill in the blanks with what they would like to be there, and then accept that false vision as reality. Am I somehow deliberately leaving crucial blanks about myself, despite the blog posts and everything else. Am I pretending I'm an open book when truthfully I'm an enclosed room without a key? Is all my "openness" on the internet an illusion and it adds up to nothing more than a hollow manikin with all the vital internal organs missing?


When interacting with any kind of person I don't know well for any kind of reason, foremost on my mind are what I call "dealbreakers." A dealbreaker is something I learn about the other person that would preclude my continued interaction with him/her, the possibility of close friendship, lunch pal, running buddy, and so on all down the line.

It could be they like a musician I hate, or their politics is the opposite of mine, or their behavior in relation to me or others violates my own concept of proper etiquette.

Amazingly enough, every single time someone has smashed through a dealbreaker at breakneck speed, s/he didn't have the slightest clue what s/he just did and the significance of it. At that point, it's all over with me, yet the other person continues on his or her merry way unaware that the "deal" has been broken and anything more is pointless.

I explain it to myself by remembering that people get caught up in their own agenda, and forget the other person in the social transaction. Their preconceived notions are all wrong, yet they just don't see it. Yet no matter how often it happens, I'm still surprised.

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